The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Changing Law (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

DrNorth
View Profile
Veteran user
North Starr Entertainment, Harrisburg PA
364 Posts

Profile of DrNorth
In my home town street performing seems to be under the term pan handling. I am sure a slick lawyer could fight this but who can afford that? So has anyone fought city hall and won? Panhandling is outright begging, I guess they could also do you for obstruction. Any ideas on changing law? The best I have been offered is to buy time at an outragious fee ($500) to perform in the city park.
Smile
"For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be. But which it that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell"
~Galadriel

"A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes."
drwilson
View Profile
Inner circle
Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

Profile of drwilson
Here is a link to a page with a brief description of Goldstein v. Town of Nantucket, 477F. Supp., 606 (1979):

http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org/The_Ne......busk.htm

This is described in great detail here:

http://communityartsadvocates.org/saalegalCtGoldstein.html

This is a district court decision, and may not apply directly to your area, but it is an important precedent.

A Federal court ruling liberated Boston in 2004:

http://communityartsadvocates.org/saahis......nLawSuit

So there may be hope in your area. Bar Harbor, Maine, is entirely beyond hope. Apparently there is busking in Portland, Maine, without police interference, requiring only a $1 permit. I'll keep you posted.

Yours,

Paul
Kozmo
View Profile
V.I.P.
5374 Posts

Profile of Kozmo
Well if there is a lot of tourists the money might be worth it....if you are good you cna make that in a couple days....not bad if you think about it
koz
drwilson
View Profile
Inner circle
Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

Profile of drwilson
Koz,

That's encouraging! How many days do you think it will take me to make enough for one of those fancy coffee drinks at Starbucks?

Yours,

Paul
Kozmo
View Profile
V.I.P.
5374 Posts

Profile of Kozmo
Bar harbor...nice spot...lots of tourists in the summer...thats a what $500 a day pitch?....seems that way to me

but will they let you work it?

koz
JoeJoe
View Profile
Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
Is this really the "law"? Search online, find the actual ordance - post it here, it's exact wording would be helpful. Not only have the courts upheld street performing as "free speech", they have also upheld pan handling as free speach! In some cities, people have fought them on these laws and forced the city to establish "pan handling" zones.

Your best course of action would be to educate yourself on the legal issues, and then approach city council. Call them up, or send them letters. Try to get them to realize that the law is unconstituational. Make a deal, work something out.

If they do not budge, you can get a lawyer to file a court motion asking for a restraining order preventing the police from arresting you. That is like solid gold, because when you hand that to a cop he knows instantly that if he does arrest you, he will be standing before an angry judge facing contempt of court charges. If I had one of those, I would even get nasty - "look copper, your in my space interfearing with my show and if you don't back off right away I'm going to the judge tomarrow and filing a civil suit against you for violating my civil rights".

The other option .... if you are willing to take drastic measures ... goto a city council meeting, get your name on the list of speakers, and let the coucil know that their law is illegal, and you are here to announce your intent to street perform. You are not there to "ask their permission", but to let them know that you WILL be doing this. If they want to fight you, they will have to arrest you.

If it comes to that, you'll want a lawyer there if at all possible. Bring a friend with a video camera - I would even suggest two friends, one that is obviously with you and another that is planted in the audience ... if the cops say turn off the camera, they will hopefully go after your friend and the shill can back off with the rest of the crowd and keep filming from a distance.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer, and only stating the course of actions I would consider.

JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24256 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
Be very careful when dealing with the police. A restraining order such as the one JoeJoe describes does have certain limitations. For example, it may state that the police cannot arrest you for performing. However, there is no way that they can write a court order that will prohibit the police from stopping you for speeding. And if you get nasty with them when you explain yourself, you may step over a line. There is an ordinance in Houston that states that it is illegal to call a police officer an offensive name. It's still on the books. There is also one that prohibits an officer from taking offense when you call him an offensive name. Go figure.

But the amount of hassle they can cause you, if you offend them, is rather large.

There is also another aspect. Can you afford an attorney to petition a judge for a court order?
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Zack
View Profile
Special user
551 Posts

Profile of Zack
Lawyers will take cases on contingency. The lawyer whoo specializes in this sort of thing is Jim Fosbinder, of Fosbinder and Fosbinder (sorry I don't have his contact info...my computer ate it).

HOWEVER, Jim willonly take a contingency case if he thinks he can make money. If he won't help you, then go to the ACLU. They should be able to help or to refer you to somebody who can.

I have seriously considered going to law school just for this issue.

Read everything at communityartsadvocates.org.

Now having said that, your post is vague. What do you mean busking seems "seems to be under the term pan handling?" What does that mean, and who told you that? What is this $500 deal? Who are you buying time from?

Have you considered just going out and busking and seeing if anybody stops you? Then if they write you a ticket for panhandling, you can go to court and fight it. See how eager the D.A. is going to be to prosecute. I got ticketed in LA, it was kicked out by the D.A, I didn't even bother to bring a lawyer.

Bill is right. Don't antagonize the cops. But don't let them push you around either. I'm considering carrying copies of the relevant case law to show to the police.

I'm going to post a copy of my recent experience in NoHo, it's a good object lesson.
drwilson
View Profile
Inner circle
Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

Profile of drwilson
Koz,

Bar Harbor has an ordinance preventing the solicitation of funds in public areas. They will not let you work a pitch. I worked a pitch on private property at the request of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce and was still challenged by the police (I stood my ground). You can read about that here.

There was a pitch on private property in a courtyard here, but it was dependent on the consent of the surrounding businesses. Restaurants, galleries, and gift shops around the pitch liked it. An improv theater moved in and shut down the pitch. Any individual business had veto power. You can read about Peter ("Glassman") Bennett's experience in Bar Harbor some years ago here.

Bar Harbor's Parks and Recreation Committe must approve all gatherings of over 25 persons in the park areas. Commercial activity (advertising, sales, or solicitation of funds) is prohibited under any circumstances. If you want to do a free event for 26 people you must apply for a permit and pay a $40 processing fee. You then appear before a committee and they decide whether your free activity will be permitted or not.

This sort of small-town BS has been ruled unconstitutional in other cases. I have discussed this privately with members of the town council and their answer to everything is that they don't want street performers here. You could stand on a corner and read the Bill of Rights and get arrested. It's not worth fighting these losers. The law here is the law of the playground: the big kids chase away the little kids. The big kids are the hotels, the restaurants, the T-shirt shops.

The question is, do you want to spend time getting arrested, finding a lawyer, appearing in court, all that, or would you rather drive to a bigger city with a lot of people out looking for a good time that is friendly to street performers? Suppose you win the case. It's a small town, now everybody hates you, you couldn't get booked for a kid's birthday party.

Of course, this is exactly what the town is counting on. They know that their ordinances are unconstitutional and they don't care. They just look at you and say, what are you going to do about it?

I'm going to walk in the sun and make some money. I find people who don't believe in the Bill of Rights tedious.

Yours,

Paul
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24256 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
The ACLU will probably not take a case of this type. They are only interested in test cases. The test cases have already been filed.

Dr. Wilson has made a valid point. If you have unlimited time and resources, then you might want to fight the unconstitutional laws. But you shouldn't play where they don't want you.

Look how much good it did Lenny Bruce.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Kozmo
View Profile
V.I.P.
5374 Posts

Profile of Kozmo
Paul,
geez, that's too bad...just so you know I vactioned in booth bay once and I just worked with out permission and no one said a word...they loved it...theres a little spot by ice creamplaces and resturants there and I made $200 in an hour and a half...it was fun
koz
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24256 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
I know that most of us on this section of the Café know this, but for the fellows who don't, here's a hint as to how to sometimes make it better for the stores that you are performing near.

When you do your hat pass, or even at intervals during the show, mention the name of the shop. It won't hurt your hat. It will make the shop owner feel good. And he may tip you.

I know it's different at Renaissance Festivals, but I used to plug the shops all the time. I got a lot of neat props custom made for me that way.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
ed rhodes
View Profile
Inner circle
Rhode Island
2732 Posts

Profile of ed rhodes
I was thinking that myself. If and when I ever get off my duff and start busking, I would certainly throw in a line about utilizing the store I'm working in front of and "tell them the magician sent you."
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
JoeJoe
View Profile
Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
I quit mentioning the stores when I realized they were all fighting to get me kicked out or moved ... that's the biggest problem with busking I think, as long as you are no good nobody cares. But when you do get good, when you start drawing and holding crowds ... then everyone wants to turn on you. Ticks me off.

I'm thankful that Barefoot Landing realizes the situation, and know that the reason they are complaining is because I am good and that the customers enjoy my show. Karen told me "we won't worry about that", so I no longer worry that they complain. Smile

JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
ed rhodes
View Profile
Inner circle
Rhode Island
2732 Posts

Profile of ed rhodes
Quote:
On 2005-05-26 22:44, JoeJoe wrote:
I quit mentioning the stores when I realized they were all fighting to get me kicked out or moved ... that's the biggest problem with busking I think, as long as you are no good nobody cares. But when you do get good, when you start drawing and holding crowds ... then everyone wants to turn on you. Ticks me off.

I'm thankful that Barefoot Landing realizes the situation, and know that the reason they are complaining is because I am good and that the customers enjoy my show. Karen told me "we won't worry about that", so I no longer worry that they complain. Smile

JoeJoe



They might be concerned that you're blocking traffic into the store. Some people can't see past the ends of their noses!
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Changing Law (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.19 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL