As you may have noticed street vendors have started to creep back into Mission Beach as well as our neighboring coastal communities. Many of these vendors are claiming that they are protected by 1st Amendment rights even though they are selling such things as Henna Tattoos, Caricatures, clothing and even food. We have learned that City Attorney Mara Elliott has instructed Park Rangers to not enforce the vending ordinance when a vendor claims 1st Amendment rights for fear of litigation.
The vendors claiming First Amendment rights are clearly gaming the City’s system, making a
mockery of City personnel’s inability to enforce due to lack of clear direction concerning The First Amendment. The vendors are currently winning this battle, while the greater public is the victim.
Historically something must be clearly political or religious in nature to be considered protected by the 1st Amendment, things like Henna Tattoos and Caricatures are clearly not political or religious.
National Park System regulations allow for First Amendment activities while prohibiting the sale of message-bearing items other than printed material, stating in part: “This restriction is
necessary to prevent the proliferation of unregulated commercial activity that would be
Inconsistent with park resources and values, that would impinge upon and degrade park scenery, and that would disrupt the visitor experience in many park units.” www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-01-16/pdf/2018-00515.pdf
Our local parks and beaches should be provided the same respect. The citizens of San Diego were promised robust enforcement of the SVO, yet our hard-working park rangers are
hamstrung without a clear directive from the City Attorney.
If the city does not act quickly it's only a matter of time before the number of vendors multiply and once again become entrenched in our beach side parks and pathways taking away access from our citizens and visitors.
Please send an email to City Attorney Mara Elliott, Mayor Todd Gloria, our city council person Jennifer Campbell and their staffs asking them to take action to end this abuse. You can type one email and then send it to the below email addresses. Your help is needed, REMEMBER THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE
MElliott@sandiego.gov - city attorney
email@example.com - Mayor Gloria
PAvila@sandiego.gov - Mayor Gloria's chief of staff
firstname.lastname@example.org - Khota Zaiser- Mayor's area rep
email@example.com - Councilperson Campbell
firstname.lastname@example.org - Venus Molina - Councilperson Campbell's chief of staff
email@example.com - Seamus Kennedy - Councilperson Campbell's area rep