Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Aug. 29
FreePB lawsuit tossed by federal court judge
Group is not a victim of discrimination due to city's denial of event permit request
Free Parks and Beaches for San Diego, the group behind the FreePB.org site, has been denied in its quest to sue the City of San Diego over an event permit moratorium that prevented the group from hosting its “Leisure Olympics” last summer, Courthouse News Service reports.
Billed as a “smaller, family oriented alternative to the raunchy and profane Over the Line Tournament” that occurs on Fiesta Island every year, the party was denied permits due to a summer moratorium on granting any requests for park space reservations from the Saturday before Memorial Day through the Labor Day weekend. Some events, however, are exempt. Others can apply for waivers through the city manager’s office, which FreePB did not do.
“Plaintiff has failed to allege facts sufficient to demonstrate that Defendant's different treatment of plaintiff's event and the grandfathered events is based on an impermissible classification,” wrote U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, dismissing the group’s claim that the policy, which grants exemptions to longstanding events such as the Old Mission Bay Athletic Club’s Over The Line contest based on their lengthy and continuous occurrence. “The different treatment of long-standing events and new events is a permissible classification.”
FreePB also argued that the city’s denial of their permit request was retaliation for the group’s opposition to 2008’s Proposition D, which banned alcohol on city beaches, and for supporting “Floatopia” events that flaunted the law once it passed by encouraging beachgoers to openly imbibe from inner tubes and inflatable rafts on the water, technically not on the beach.
Curiel also dismissed this complaint, writing that “While plaintiff may be among those that criticize defendant's policies and regulations concerning beach resources, the challenged ordinance would apply even to event organizers who did not criticize defendant's policies and regulations and who wished to hold a new event.”
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