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Environmental group challenges Bay Village door-to-door curfew
Solicitors -- including non-profits and political canvasser -- want to be able to visit until 9 p.m.; the city says no
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
In The Region:
The city of Bay Village is butting heads with an environmental advocacy group over privacy, safety and free speech issues when it comes to door-to-door soliciting. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
Bay Village curfew challenged

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Last summer, Bay Village joined neighbors Westlake and Fairview Park in scaling back curfews for solicitors from 9 p.m. to 8 p.m. or sundown, whichever comes first.

Ohio Citizen Action, which was canvassing at the time, argues that’s taking away valuable time to talk about important political issues and infringing on free speech. The group is suing, and recently prevailed in a similar case near Cincinnati. 

David Hudson of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, says the case could hinge on whether Bay Village can prove the issue is one of privacy and safety.

“If the court views it as a reasonable time, place and manner restriction, I would certainly advance the safety interest as well. But aside from safety interests, I think the city should probably try to pin its case on the privacy rationale. Certainly over the last 20 years, courts have been more sensitive to privacy concerns.”

For its part, Bay Village is saying just that.

“The (City) Council had numerous complaints about concerns of safety in the community as far as cars stopping children in the neighborhood, etc.," says Law Director Gary Ebert. "I'm not saying that's due to solicitation. It's just one of the issues that council was concerned about." 

Ebert says the town has had safety concerns ever since 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic was abducted and killed in 1989"so Bay Village is very sensitive to that issue from a safety standpoint.”

Ebert did say another restriction -- that solicitors must register with the city -- has been revised and Ohio Citizen Action has agreed in principle. Non-profits will not have to pay a fee or go through as rigorous a registration process. Ebert says the two sides are continuing to negotiate, to try to head off the case going to federal court.
Listener Comments:

If you knock on my door after sundown and I don't know you, you better be ready for a beating. Me and my dog will f* you up- curfew or not.


Posted by: Doug (Bay Village) on January 22, 2013 11:01AM
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