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Council Continues Banner Suspension, Creates Subcommittee to Revise Permit Rules

The new subcommittee will revise banner permit guidelines.

The Encinitas City Council Wednesday night voted to establish a subcommittee to revise the rules regarding the use of light poles for the city’s downtown banner program, which is currently suspended.

The banner permit process was suspended in April after the city was threatened with legal action from several parties, including the American Civil Liberties Union, for blocking banners with the . After the city deemed the image violated banner rules, the Artists’ 101 Colony, which produces the , covered Houlihan’s picture with vinyl stickers.

“We were threatened and everybody knows it,” Mayor Jerome Stocks said Wednesday night. “We can’t go forward, in my opinion, with the same rules we had because we now know that we are not going to be able to control content.”

Danny Salzhandler, president of the 101 Artists' Colony, urged councilmembers to keep the program’s rules in place.

“We hope the Arts Alive exhibit can continue as is,” Salzhandler said. “We’ve done this for 12 years and we’re just getting warmed up.”

All of the councilmembers agreed that the banner program should continue, but said the permit rules need to be revised to reduce the risk of legal action against the city. 

“I think the banner is part of our character, so I, for one, wouldn’t want to eliminate the banner program at all,” Councilman Mark Muir said. “But I do know there may be a need to modify some of the rules just so we protect ourselves and protect the banner program itself.” 

Randy Morrison, an attorney hired by the city to review existing rules, advised the City Council to end the banner program, allow the use of banners for city events and messages only, or allow the use of banners for city-sponsored events.

Councilmembers agreed that banners should be used for city-sponsored events, and voted unanimously to set up a subcommittee, which will include Councilmen James Bond and Mark Muir, to revise banner guidelines.

“There will still be jerks in the world that will litigate or sue on some of the most frivolous, left-handed items,” said Councilman James Bond, who added it would be “tragic” to discontinue the banner program. “But until that time, I think we should beef up option three to the extent that we can follow the law and maintain some control over the banners.”

Councilwoman Teresa Barth suggested the current ban be lifted until the new rules are in place. She noted that the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association was unable to put up banners for its annual LeucadiART Walk, which takes place Sunday, even though the group has done so in the past.

Although Muir agreed that the ban should be lifted, other councilmembers disagreed.

“It seems reckless and a poor idea to get rid of the moratorium when we don’t have new rules yet,” Stocks said.

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Chris may August 23, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Stocks says,"We were threatened and everybody knows it." Stocks was the one that chose to try to stop citizens from honoring Mrs. Houlihan on banners, kept the city from honoring her by flying the flag at half mast and rejected the permit for her memorial. All of the council members said, after their rejection of the image and threated lawsuit, that the Houlihan image was not a political image, the city code said nothing that would has disallowed her image on the banners. Stocks caused this situation and time, money, energy has been wasted because oh his distasteful efforts. And worthy community events have and will suffer because of it.
Bruce Stephens August 23, 2012 at 02:41 PM
The only reason we are in this mess is Jerome Stock's paranoia. Time to vote this clown out come November. I can guarantee you there will be no honoring of Stock's stint on the the council once he is gone.
Chris may August 23, 2012 at 03:18 PM
“There will still be jerks in the world that will litigate or sue on some of the most frivolous, left-handed items,” said Councilman James Bond. Note: The threaten suit involved a citizen who objected to the city not allowing a non political tribute to honor a long serving council member. It is distasteful, but how would council member Bond feel if he knew that future council members would use the city powers to stop Mrs. Bond and friends and supporters to honor Mr Bond for his valuable service to the community if he were to die while serving his community? Would he call the people jerks for fighting for the right to honor him?
Change the Council August 23, 2012 at 03:22 PM
The threat was from the Council majority - nobody in Encinitas was harmed by banners with Maggie's image, and nobody threatened to sue the city UNTIL the mayor injected his politics. Let's see if the subcommittee of Muir and Bond can write rules that would have allowed the Arts Alive banner to be censored. We need to change the Council and we need to be vigilant as they try to take away our creative expression.
kathleen lindemann August 23, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Mr. Bond's comment about jerks was very interesting. This whole banner situation was of Jerome Stocks making. It is s sad that this man was so jeolous of a women with a wonderful smile who had died that he created a problem where none existed. Kristin Gaspar gave a situation where if she were to promote her non profit foundation during her reelection year that would be political. I guess Kristin was so anxious to support Jerome Stocks she didn't realize she is a living person and that Maggie had died. Seems the only jerk in this situation is jeolous, Jerome Stocks.
janis smith August 23, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Let's show Jerome Stocks how we can honor him by dumping him for reelection.
S. Daly August 23, 2012 at 04:21 PM
People of Encinitas: Please change council this coming November! This problem was caused by Jerome Stocks. He should have let the art banners go up for this weekend. He is so petty and mean. Everyone I have met that gets involved with city politics is shocked at how arrogant and disrespectful Stocks is. He is ruining our city. It is time to clean out the council and start afresh. There are some good and sincere candidates who are running for the vacant council seats. By the way, don't let Muir fool you either. He is making every effort to remove himself from Stocks. He will purposely vote different than Stocks because he knows how toxic and hated Stocks is. No doubt he is full aware that his band of Stocks, Gaspar, and Bonds will carry the vote the way he wants. Don't believe him for a moment. And don't say that all the people making comments are naysayers. If you were to know the stuff going on with council, you would be shocked and disgusted. It is all public record. You just have to get involved and dig a bit. Then you would know the damage Jerome Stocks is doing to our city. Wake up Encinitas!

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