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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
reggie miles the pot calling the kettle black NW Folk (20) RE: the pot calling the kettle black NW Folk 24 May 10

Here's the deal. I know that I can't rewrite history. However, (1) if the NW Folklife Festival would have simply followed the court's rulings on the matter of freedom of expression, rulings that had been in place for "years", (see Deborah Daoust's quote in PI reporter Chris Grygiel's article about the appellate court's decision.) the incident that happened to me last year, would, more than likely, never have happened. (2) The security guy would have had no reason to ask me to stop playing. (3) Nor could he have used the excuse, that he was acting on behalf of the Seattle Center management in his actions, by telling me that I could not play underneath that covered walkway. (4) I would, very likely, never have had my experience of having been escorted off the grounds by the police. (5) My Memorial Day weekend, last year, playing on the grounds of the Seattle Center for the many visitors to the NW Folklife Festival might have been a pleasant memory. It could have been a memory that I could now reflect upon as one of my having created far more smiles than I could easily count in my attempts at offering my musical entertainment to passersby and all might have been reasonably right with my offering my music on the streets of the good ol' U. S. of A.

Unfortunately, the NW Folklife Festival did not align their rules to the district court's decision. Similarly, they have not seen fit to align their rules with what the appellate court's has decided. My issue with the NW Folklife Festival is that they are displaying anti-American tendencies by refusing to address the issue of our First Amendment rights with their rules restricting street performers. Their only excuse, thus far, is to point the finger of blame at the city of Seattle.

This sounds like the NW Folklife Festival is simply passing the buck. The city of Seattle has already lost two court cases over the matter. In the last case the court awarded street performer, Michael Berger, $20,000. That's no small chunk of change for a street performer.

Is the threat of another lawsuit the only thing that will motivate the NW Folklife Festival into action to reform and erase their unconstitutional rules from their list of restrictions against street performers? Are they so belligerent in their defense of denying us our rights and freedoms that our only recourse to drag this event into court?

My point is that, if the NW Folklife Festival knew the rules to be unconstitutional, and I believe they did, long ago, then why have they persisted in defending them? They went so far, in defense of these unconstitutional rules, as to have the head of their private security force evict me from the grounds of this public park during this free public event on Memorial Day weekend. I was acting completely within my First Amendment rights. I don't think that this is simply some misunderstanding on my part, or theirs. I believe that they have acted with intent to defy the court's decisions. The only thing that I can deduce from such behavior is that the NW Folklife Festival is in favor of restricting me and others of our freedom of expression. How much more anti-American can you get?!

What I'd really like to see is those event organizers being evicted from the grounds of this public park using the same method that they used on me last year. Since they are, in fact, in violation of the law in this matter, let's use the fullest extent of the law to have them pay for their actual crimes. Of course, a court awarded settlement of, say, $20,000 would be icing on the cake. ;o)

A musical partner and friend of mine, the late, great songwriter/singer/guitarist Jim Hinde came up with a wonderful song that seems wholly appropriate in this instance. His repeating phrase throughout the song was that he wanted to see all those who would commit such abhorrent acts do the "perp walk." Now that the NW Folklife Festival has illegally given me a taste of what it's like, I'd like to return the favor and see all those who are defending the position of enacting and enforcing illegal and unconstitutional restrictions against our First Amendment rights do the perp walk. Oh yeah!

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