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City bans weekly shopper's newsracks

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    NMU         COLORADO         Newsgathering         May 2, 2002    

City bans weekly shopper’s newsracks

  • The shopper’s publisher, with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union, said he is prepared to fight city order telling him to remove three newsracks.

The Lafayette, Colo., City Council recently extended publisher Richard Perry’s deadline to remove three newsracks holding his Boulder Valley Bargains to give council members time to investigate a city order mandating the ban.

City workers in recent weeks had placed notices on Perry’s newsracks in Lafayette, mandating that he remove them by April 19, or else be fined and have the newsracks confiscated. Council members told Perry on April 16 that they were unaware of the order. The city council extended Perry’s deadline. Now, unless the order banning the newsracks is rescinded, Perry has until May 16 to remove the newsracks.

Perry said he hopes that the order will be rescinded, but if it is not, he still won’t take down his newsracks.

“I’m not going to play that game,” he said.

Perry said the city is determining what qualifies as a newspaper by regulating whether he can place what he describes as a “weekly shopper newspaper” next to daily newspapers.

“They’re referring to me as not being a legitimate newspaper,” he said. “It’s a direct assault on the First Amendment. The truth is, I have stuff that is printed in my newspaper that is not printed anywhere else.”

Perry has been publishing Boulder Valley Bargains for 10 years and three of his 150 newsracks are in jeopardy.

The American Civil Liberties Union is supporting Perry in his attempt to keep his newsracks next to the larger newspapers.

“We believe the action is unconstitutional and raises an important civil liberties issue that is fundamental to the Bill of Rights,” said Judd Golden, Boulder County ACLU vice chairman, in a letter to council members, requesting that the city rescind its order.

KG


© 2002 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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