What part of the First Amendment don't these tyrants understand?????
Court to decide if sign-walkers allowed in Scottsdale
Edward Gately, The Republic | azcentral.com 10:58 a.m. MST August 1, 2014
A Maricopa County Superior Court judge could decide this month whether Scottsdale has to abide by a new state law aimed at preventing the city from imposing its strict rules on street-corner sign walkers.
A city ordinance restricts sign walkers to private property, preventing them from standing close to traffic on sidewalks. The revised state law requires cities to allow the sign walkers on public property and public rights of way.
The larger issue, however, involves how far the state can go in imposing rules on charter cities.
The new law took effect last month.
In May, Scottsdale City Attorney Bruce Washburn filed a complaint seeking a judgment declaring that the state law constitutionally cannot be applied to the city because of its status as an Arizona city governed by its own charter. Charter status allows the city to set rules for managing its streets and sidewalks, among other things, the city argues.
Earlier this month, the Arizona Attorney General's Office and Washburn submitted summary-judgment motions for the court to bring an end to the case. Response briefs from both sides are due Monday, Aug. 25, and after that the judge could render a decision.
"I cannot predict how long the judge would take to decide the matter," Washburn said.
Jim Torgeson, owner of Mesa-based Sign King of Arizona, which provides sign walkers to businesses, was named an intervenor and joined the state's summary-judgment motion. He has been battling the city over this issue since at least 2007.
"I would hope that a little bit of freedom is preserved, a little bit of rights are preserved," he said. "Scottsdale would rather put 100 people out of work than the inconvenience of seeing them on the street. It makes no sense. Panhandlers are legal, but somebody trying to work, make a living and make revenue, can't work?"
In his motion, Washburn said the new law "unconstitutionally interferes with Scottsdale's self-governance in three overall areas: the preservation of community aesthetics, the protection of the inhabitants of Scottsdale from the immediate dangers posed by distracted drivers, and the regulation and control of municipal streets and sidewalks."
The Arizona Constitution declares the rights of cities to frame their own government charter, which becomes the constitution of the municipality, he said.
"Citizens of Scottsdale have complained regarding the unsightly presence of sign walkers, and expressed their desire that sign walkers not be permitted in Scottsdale," Washburn said. "The citizens ... have a psychological and economic interest in maintaining the beauty of their surroundings and enhancing property values. The city's peace and beauty are preserved by the city's regulation of sign walkers."
David Weinzweig, senior litigation counsel, filed the motion on behalf of the Attorney General's Office. In it, he said Scottsdale must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the new law is unconstitutional.
"Arizona municipalities have no inherent zoning or police powers," he said. "Rather, it is and always has been the Arizona Legislature that 'created and delegated the power to zone' to Arizona's municipalities, including the power to regulate signage."
The state Constitution does not "confer unilateral authority on cities to enact a patchwork quilt of regulations," Weinzweig said.
Previous state law already required municipalities to allow sign walkers, but let the municipalities establish their own reasonable time, place and manner of restrictions. Many metro Phoenix cities decided to simply follow the state law.
Scottsdale, however, restricted sign walkers to private property, prohibiting them from waving signs on sidewalks or at intersections, where passing traffic is more likely to see them.