City Should Respect the Law
No one should have to file a lawsuit to get the city to comply with the law.
First it was the Capistrano Taxpayers Association’s lawsuit against the city to force them to stop illegally billing for water. The CTA won, but the city council majority of Sam Allevato, Larry Kramer and John Taylor voted to appeal the court ruling and ignore the court decision by continuing to bill the higher, illegal tiered water rates.
More recently, the CCS filed legal action to force the city to allow us to place our news rack alongside other news racks on city-owned property.
Newspapers have been distributed via news racks at City Hall, the Community Center and on other city-owned property for many years. That is, until the CCS put our news rack alongside the others. Within four days, a closed door meeting of the city council was called, newspapers were banned on city property, and the CCS was threatened with criminal prosecution if we placed our newspapers “anywhere on city property”.
The council majority of Sam Allevato, Larry Kramer and Mayor John Taylor have refused to take responsibility for the ban, but Councilman Roy Byrnes reported the vote in open session, stating that the council voted 3-1 to support it (with Byrnes opposed).
If Allevato, Kramer and Taylor truly believe there is nothing wrong with banning newspapers on city-owned property, why will they not admit their vote or explain why they think it’s OK?
Meanwhile, other newspapers remain on city-owned properties with no apparent problem. We are guessing that these other publications have not received a letter from the city attorney threatening them with criminal prosecution for “...violation of the SJC Municipal Code, among other violations”.
We are attempting to protect our right to free speech in the only way that we can; by filing legal action.
In order to avoid having to drag this into court however, the CCS offered to settle with the city if they allowed newspapers back on public property. The CCS through its attorney, Wayne Tate, of Ostendorf Tate Barnett LLP, offered to settle it without going to court, if the city agreed to the following provisions; that the City of San Juan Capistrano, Sam Allevato, Larry Kramer, John Taylor and Hans Van Ligten admit they violated the constitutional rights of the CCS by banning our news rack from city-owned property; publicly apologize to CCS; repeal the ban; agree not to enact a future ban; reimburse the CCS for attorney and filing fees and agree that the CCS reserves its right to challenge any restriction or limitation placed on it or its news racks by the city.
If history is any judge, the city will continue to dig in its heels, and refuse to accept any responsibility for bad and illegal behavior. The losers are the residents who are governed by such lawless ineptitude.