◼ Resident (read that Richard Salzman, or whatever he is calling himself these days) plans to sue Arcata if panhandling ordinance not amended
Attorney Peter Martin submitted the letter on Feb. 14 on behalf of Richard "Web of Lies" Salzman. The letter stated it was intended to “invite” the city to begin amending its ordinance within about 30 days to avoid the “expense, uncertainty and unpleasantness of contested litigation.” Salzman is a local political consultant who recently worked on Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos' re-election campaign.
”A speaker's rights are not lost merely because compensation is received; a speaker is no less a speaker because she is paid to speak,” Martin stated in the letter. (WTF?)
The ordinance passed in 2010 and restricts where people can panhandle, banning such behavior on pedestrian bridges and other areas, including at intersections with signs and within 20 feet of the entrance to a supermarket, ATM machines, parking lots, bus shelters, restaurants, bars, retail stores, or check-cashing businesses. Panhandling aggressively is also prohibited by the ordinance anywhere in the city. Aggressive panhandling is defined to include following or touching a person intentionally, using profane or aggressive language and disrupting or blocking traffic while panhandling, according to the ordinance.
Salzman said on Tuesday the council appeared “well-intentioned” when they passed the ordinance, but he alleged the ordinance is unconstitutional. He wanted the city to be able to consult with its legal counsel on the matter before he pursued legal action....
Lawsuits aren't cheap. A minimum of 10 grand usually, just to get started - how's he going to pay you? Where's the money going to come from this time? Gives new meaning to the term "nuisance suit."
”Mr. Salzman objects to the near-total ban on begging in public fora..."
You can't make this stuff up. It's too bad, though. Peter Martin was once one of the good guys.