Outreach & anti-free speech policing at Cheb Khaled concert (Stern Grove)

I went to a free concert in Stern Grove park today and passed out a bunch of the fliers I had left over from the NORML conference (the ones I made from the ad in Reason about the Feds' hypocrisy on medical marijuana), and a bunch of million dollar bill fliers.

  Am happy to report that a number of people were smoking marijuana despite the new law that you cannot smoke in city parks (though actually I'm not sure the law specifies *what* you can't smoke in parks) and a very visible security presence.

  However on a more ominous note, one of the security people who saw me passing out fliers told me it was not allowed, and that "the free speech area is over there" (indicating the path leading out of the concert area). I asked him if Stern Grove was public land (knowing it is), and he replied that it's owned by the city of San Francisco. "All public land in the United States is a free speech zone," I told him. "It's in the Constitution." He said security could have me leave, and I said that it was his free speech right to ask me to leave, too, and walked away. He didn't follow me, and after I'd put a bit of distance between us, I continued passing out the fliers. None of the other security people who saw me said anything.

  Later I complained to a manager about what happened, confirming (as I suspected) that the event was partially funded by the government (via the hotel tax), and telling her that the security people should be informed about peoples' right to free speech. She "tried to explain" that the purpose was to keep people from littering, and I pointed out that people could just as easily litter with something that was handed to them in the "free speech zone," an observation for which she had no response.

  I passed out more fliers later without encountering any further negative vibes, but decided not to give them a donation (they were trying to get people to support the concert series) based on the anti-free speech attitudes and the government funding.

Yours in liberty,
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