Saturday, November 14, 2009

ALL Of Ellsworth Drive Is Public Space

Don't take my word for it. Jennifer Nettles, the Downtown Silver Spring Property Manager, as well as Paul Liquorie of the Montgomery County Police Third District, said so. From the Gazette (bolding emphasis is mine):
Both Nettles and Liquorie said because Ellsworth Drive has been deemed a public street – Peterson leases the property from the county – residents have all their First Amendment rights and a curfew would not be possible.
"We have to maintain First Amendment rights," Nettles said.
In other words, DTSS can't make up its own laws. They can't restrict behavior that is legal and lawful on any other county street.

Nettles' comments were made in response to community demands for a teen curfew following the melee of March 7th, 2009. In this article, Nettles and Liquorie confirmed what skaters have been saying all along — that Ellsworth Drive is not private property and as such, The Peterson Companies (owners of DTSS) cannot restrict anyone's rights.

Since Nettles is fully aware of the rights of citizens on Ellsworth Drive, why is it that for years, DTSS has essentially been creating and imposing its own laws, and restricting the rights of skaters? Montgomery County doesn't have an anti-skateboarding ordinance, and since both Nettles and Montgomery County Police confirmed that Ellsworth Drive is public property, it's clear that skaters have never been involved in unlawful activity while skateboarding there.

And yet, skaters have repeatedly been harassed and chased off of Ellsworth Drive by the DTSS "courtesy officers" who seem to think they're cops with the right to restrict completely legal and peaceful actions.

The only Maryland laws related to skateboarding have to do with young skaters wearing helmets. Oh yeah, and skaters can't attach themselves to any vehicles while riding.

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