16 November 2021

Minnesota city bans hopscotch on city sidewalks


And not just hopscotch - all chalk art on sidewalks.  Details at the StarTribune:
Drawing a hopscotch board on a sidewalk or street in Anoka is now against the law — one of the ramifications of a new ordinance governing displays on city property recently passed by the City Council.

The ordinance regulates flags, murals, memorials, banners and even chalk art displayed on buildings, light posts, flagpoles, streets and sidewalks, parks and other city infrastructure. It's designed to allow the city to protect and maintain aesthetics of city-owned property...

Council members asked City Attorney Scott Baumgartner for advice in crafting the ordinance, wondering if there was room to allow certain types of chalk art, such as hopscotch boards.

Baumgartner advised adopting an all-or-none approach. Subjectivity in determining what is and not allowed could land the city in trouble. He cited federal precedent that allows cities to regulate the use of chalk art on sidewalks...

Rice said it is unfortunate the city needs an ordinance like this, but "it protects the integrity of the city, our community and our citizens and all of that from … more nonsense."
Reading between the lines, I suppose the ordinance is designed to prohibit chalk art on sidewalks supporting or dissing Donald Trump, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al, and the children's games are just friendly-fire casualties.  Very sad.

12 comments:

  1. I wonder what the penalty is for violating the ordinance? I searched but could not find that information.

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  2. This has already been decided at the Supreme Court level. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Ladue_v._Gilleo

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    1. I don't think they are equivalent. The Supreme Court case involved "signs in the yards of residents." This ordinance is about signs/marks on government property such as sidewalks.

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  3. Washington Post article from 2015:

    "Sidewalk chalking and the law"

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/05/11/sidewalk-chalking-and-the-law/

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  4. I live in this city and know the council member who voted against it. He is the only one who actually has young children.

    It is also a city that has a statue of a soldier with a machine gun in its waterfront park.

    That speaks volumes about the kind of art the city will tolerate in its public spaces.

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    1. If the statue you refer to is the "Above and Beyond Monument," that would hardly be considered art. That is a statue of Richard Sorensen, a World War II Marine and Medal of Honor recipient, and a native of Anoka. Private Sorenson was 19 years old when threw himself on an exploding Japanese grenade that was part of US munitions captured during the Battle of Bataan, to save the lives of five fellow Marines. Although fragments of the grenade ripped through his thighs, hips, right arm and right leg, he survived. Mr Sorenson attended the dedication of this memorial in 1992. What is sad is that you have a problem with a city that "tolerates" memorials to the men and women who served their country. That speaks volumes, but not about the art in your city.

      Perhaps you should visit our national mall sometime. Or maybe not. They have statues there with people carrying weapons as well.

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    2. That statue is not illegal.

      A child's chalk drawing is illegal.

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  5. Idiotic bylaw. But I wouldn't be surprised if some 8 year old got arrested. Some kids were arrested not that long ago in Georgia I believe for running a lemonade stand without a license.

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  6. Government gone wild. Meanwhile, people are losing their lives to actual crime. Sigh.

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  7. When I was young, we used to just use rocks to scratch/draw hopscotch boards on the street. IDK if that would work on cement sidewalks but I wonder if it would get around the ban (it's not chalk after all.) The lines aren't as bright or clear but it worked well enough for playing. (God, I realize this post makes me sound like I'm ancient, when I'm only semi-ancient -- it was the 1960s. We we did actually have toys, not just rocks to play with.

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  8. I live in South Minneapolis, half a block from where George Floyd died. The chalk art (graffiti, political messages, whatever you want to call it) that are all over the area now would be, I suspect, be far less tolerated in the much more conservative area of Anoka. My cynical read is that they wanted to head off the possibility of having to face messages they didn't like before it happened.

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