Street Newspaper Asserts Its Rights

As seen in The Tennessean

(it appears this article has been dropped from the Tennessean webpage, but is going national through the Associated Press)

The Contributor filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the City of Brentwood over the presence of newspaper vendors on the city’s streets.

The paper is sold on Nashville area streets by the homeless and the formerly homeless to help provide a view of life on the streets and to aid those who are without homes.

In January, Calvin Hart and Andrew Harrington were collectively sentenced to a fine of $125 after distributing the paper in Brentwood, which has caused other vendors of The Contributor to stay away from selling in Brentwood.

The city is arguing that Hart and Harrington were in violation of The City of Brentwood Ordinance section 58-1, which says “no person shall use or occupy any portion of the public street, alley, sidewalk or right of way for the purpose of storing, selling, or exhibiting any goods, wares, merchandise or materials.”

The Contributor is arguing this as a freedom of speech issue, citing “deprivation of First Amendment rights.”

This was in the article at Channel 5:

Brentwood City Manager Mike Walker also said the city is in the process of amending its current ordinances to address concerns that were raised by the ACLU. He said the amendments will make it clear that newspaper sales on public sidewalks are permitted, as long as vendors do not enter the street. Walker expects the amendments to be in place by the end of July.

He went on to say that the city had previously advised the ACLU that the ordinance would be amended, and city leaders were surprised that the ACLU had still chosen to file a lawsuit against the city.

It should be noted that the city of Brentwood has very few sidewalks. Most of their streets are built without them. People who walk to their destinations just don’t seem to be welcomed there.

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About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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