By now, you have heard that the San Diego City Attorney lost his case against Mr. Olson who repeatedly protested at a bank with removable chalk messages on city sidewalks. For starters, why pick on a “poor” bank? This chalk was especially designed for use on sidewalks. Mr. Olson claimed “freedom of speech” under the exercise of his First Amendment rights. What audacity!
What if City Attorney Goldsmith had won? San Diego would no longer be America’s Finest City but America’s “First Chalk-Free City.” The City Attorney could request legislation to have a citywide ban on the sale of this chalk or at least require stores to place the chalk behind the counters and lock it up with the cigarettes. More national publicity for San Diego!
While walking my dog on the 4th of July, I noted numerous sidewalks and driveways decorated with bright pastel chalk drawings of fish, birds, Happy Birthday America, and symbolic hearts. Apparently, with or without adult supervision, the younger generation felt the need to “express themselves” in what the City Attorney considers a destructive manner. Also, for the record, there were many more curbs and sidewalks marked in permanent paint indicating water, sewer, electric and cable connections. I can only surmise that the City Attorney sanctioned this type of pictorial representation.
What is most troubling is that this need for self-expression appears to start very early in school. Who would have thought that chalked Hop Scotch or Tic-Tack-Toe games would lead to this type of behavior?
Happy 4th of July.