ACLU blasts Mpls Council for approving speech-limiting "Clean Zone" during All-Star Game

acluASG.jpg
Image by Jayme Halbritter for City Pages
Today, the Minneapolis City Council approved the MLB's request to create a potentially speech-limiting "Clean Zone" across a swath of the city during a two week stretch surrounding the 2014 All-Star Game.

SEE ALSO: MN ACLU explains why Duck Dynasty dude's anti-gay comments aren't protected speech

The city's decision to temporarily cede some regulatory power to the MLB didn't set well with the Minnesota ACLU, which characterized it as placing "our free speech rights... in the hands of a private corporation."

"The MLB, as a requirement of hosting the All-Star Game, wants to control what goes on in a substantial part of downtown Minneapolis, the U of M... a big chunk of the city," ACLU-MN Executive Director Chuck Samuelson told us. "We're not sure that the city can do that."

SEE ALSO: Twins unveil 2014 All-Star Game logo [IMAGE]

The resolution approved by council without discussion this morning is explained neatly in this passage from a city document:
Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by The City Council of The City of Minneapolis:

That no temporary permit or license shall be approved or granted by the City Council which would permit the sale or free distribution of merchandise, peddling, transient merchant activities, product sampling, temporary food or beverage services, temporary beverage alcohol premise expansions, block events, parades, races, or permit the use of temporary structures, tents, signs, banners, mobile billboard vehicles, broadcast vehicles, amplified sound permits, temporary light displays, inflatable displays, or permit temporary entertainment venues to be operated during the time period of July 5, 2014 through July 20, 2014 on public or private property within the following geographical areas surrounding Target Field or other event venues without additional approval of Major League Baseball.
The Clean Zone would be enforced in "that part of the City of Minneapolis lying between the Mississippi River where it intersects with Interstate Highway 94, westerly along Interstate Highway 94 to Plymouth Avenue North, and easterly to the Mississippi River south to the point at Interstate Highway 94," the document says.

But in a letter sent to the city before today's vote, Samuelson argued that the Clean Zone "imposes a prior restraint on speech and would condition licenses and permits for constitutionally protected speech and expressive conduct on approval by MLB."

"By failing to tailor the proposed Clean Zone to ensure that it does not unconstitutionally restrict constitutionally-protected speech, the city would be opening itself up to legal liability for First Amendment violations," the ACLU letter continues.

During our conversation, Samuelson also questioned the need for the Clean Zone to be in place for more than two weeks when All-Star festivities only last a few days.

"Do they need that broad of a timeline on both sides of the game? That's our question," he said, adding that he isn't sure if All-Star cities have implemented similar Clean Zones in previous years.

We contacted a number of City Council members seeking comment, but none of them had yet gotten back to us as this is published.

To read the full text of both the resolution approved today by the city and Samuelson's letter, click to page two.


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28 comments
midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

The ACLU and everybody has this wrong, so wrong.  It would appear by reading the text provided in this article that speech is ALWAYS limited in Minneapolis, 24/7/365. If you need a permit that means speech is restricted in a sense at all times. Minneapolis is simply agreeing not to issue permits for those activities around the time of the MLB All Star Game. People should be angry the permit process exists if you want to be mad about anything.

 If you supported the baseball stadium you should have expected crap like this. It's totally legal also unless there is some other law I'm not aware of.

hahahahaha
hahahahaha

listen up you plebs, just shut the hell up and buy some hats and jerseys, ps your constitutional rights were taken away long ago and you didn't complain then so go back to your big mac and bud lite

WhiteMatt
WhiteMatt

Well.....Obama tramples all over the Constitution, why not MLB? 

Doug Black
Doug Black

I assume the ACLU will challenge based on a little document called the constitution?

Corey Sax
Corey Sax

Been to the police meeting on this. Police will fine those that fail to comply.

_Joe_
_Joe_

Well if MLB is renting Minneapolis for 15 days, does that mean I can withhold 4% of my property taxes?

Bradley America
Bradley America

Can we start a thing where we hand out as many free sandwiches as possible to people downtown?

Andy Brady
Andy Brady

Thought some progressives were added to council this year how sad.

Derek Sailor
Derek Sailor

That includes many, many peoples homes. I feel a protest coming.

Marshall Baltzell
Marshall Baltzell

Most of Northeast will be suppressed too. Up to 37th and west to University. No signs in the yards, no demonstrations, protests or marches without MLB consent.

knighti8
knighti8

So they want to control all advertising in the area... that is limiting the power of all people and businesses...

Jerry Thell
Jerry Thell

Nowhere in the article did it mention not being able to swear.

Joshua Warren
Joshua Warren

I dated a girl one summer that was a graphic designer. She used to supplement her income making her own Twins t shirts, without copyright infringement and they were better than the ones sold in Target Field.

Christian Johnson
Christian Johnson

That's pretty much all of downtown and then some... Go ACLU! Suck it MLB

Eduardo Gallegos Parra
Eduardo Gallegos Parra

Anything for the almighty dollar. The City Council is selling the soul (and voice) of Minneapolitans to the highest bidder. Disgust!

Shayne O'Neil
Shayne O'Neil

For fucksake , what words are offensive to those asshats ?

Evik James
Evik James

I think they should at least put up a big billboard that clearly lists the naughty words that we're not supposed to say.

Cliff Spab
Cliff Spab

There is a place for everything. They just want to keep the dipshits away. I am cool with that!

Aaron Mielke
Aaron Mielke

Ya Americas past time fucking the Constitution.

zzzz
zzzz

Fuck you MLB!  Target Field is a beautiful stadium, if you want to host an event there, great, but why the hell would they need to have these insane controls over huge parts of the city which won't even be televised.  

yourpoprock
yourpoprock

This is BECAUSE progressives were added to the council.

MrGasso
MrGasso

Yes, They sure Are! It happened when robots like RT.ByeBack were elected. Droids with only lower ganglea.

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