130 years ago Wyatt Earp… Tombstone today…

{Highgraded from The Tombstone News:}

Marshal�s Department Will Enforce 1998 Solicitation Ordinance
Meredith Littlejohn 03.APR.09

According
to Tombstone Marshal Larry Talvy, due to increasing complaints and
incidents occurring in the Historic District, the Tombstone Marshal�s
Department will now be enforcing Ordinance No. 5-1998 better known as
the Solicitation Ordinance.

�I personally spend at least three
hours a day dealing with issues on Allen Street and the other deputies
can spend up to three hours a day�, stated Marshal Talvy. �That is a
lot of time that could be used to investigate other crimes.� Marshal
Talvy went on to say that there are many times when TMO is
investigating open criminal cases when they are called away to deal
with complaints from frustrated businesses on Allen Street. �All calls
are important,� stated Marshal Talvy. �But we are going to have to
prioritize our responses. This may mean I get some complaints but the
department needs to be following up on many different issues including
the school break-in investigation. We have some people in jail and we
want to be able to ask them more questions, but we cannot send anyone
to see them because every time we do someone has to respond to a
complaint on Allen Street.� Marshal Talvy went on to say that he
attempts to go on all of the Allen Street calls himself in order to
free up his deputies to patrol, take calls throughout the city and to
do follow up work on investigations.

According to the solicitation
ordinance which was written in 1993 and adopted by Mayor Gene Harper
and his council, it was created because solicitation throughout the
city was becoming disturbing and disruptive to tourists, visitors and
businesses, leading to the loss access and enjoyment of public places
but also a sense of fear, intimidation and disorder.

The ordinance
defines soliciting as enticing, encouraging or requesting donation or
transfer of money or other things of value from another person,
regardless of the solicitor�s purpose or intended use of the money or
other thing of value. The solicitation may be, without limitation, by
spoken, written or printed word or by other means of communication.

Some
of the actions now illegal according to the ordinance include; making
any physical contact with or touching another person or the person�s
property in the course of soliciting with out the person�s consent.
Following the person being solicited if that conduct is intended to or
is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or
the commission of a criminal act upon property in the person�s
possession or is intended to reasonably likely to intimidate the person
being solicited into responding affirmatively to the solicitation.
According to Marshal Talvy at this time there is one business that is
currently breaking this section of the ordinance.

The ordinance
goes on to say that no one is allowed to intentionally or recklessly
block the safe or free passage of the person being solicited or
requiring the person, or driver of a vehicle to take evasive action to
avoid physical contact with the person making the solicitation.
According to Marshal Talvy, in the past this has been an issue with
passing out of handbills. �People block the flow of pedestrian and even
vehicular traffic which could cause injury or an accident,� stated
Marshal Talvy.

Another issue the Marshal has been dealing with is
the use of boisterous and unreasonable language which is also covered
in the ordinance; No person who is visible or audible to any person on
any street within the limits of the City of Tombstone shall in a loud
boisterous raucous offensive or insulting manner offer for sale,
solicit the purchase of, announce the availability of, or solicit the
employment of any services of facilities or solicit patronage for or
advertise any show exhibition, entertainment, tour, excursion,
sight-seeing trip or real-estate.

The ordinance also states that
solicitors shall not accost, annoy, entreat or confront pedestrians,
motorist, sightseers, tourists and members of the general public for
the purpose of marketing their products, shows, performances,
demonstrations or any like activity that requires attendance, patronage
or viewing.

According to the ordinance there are exceptions to the
rule. If a member of the public voluntarily approaches or communicates
with a solicitor in an attempt to gain knowledge concerning a show,
performance, reenactment or product then prohibitions contained in this
section are not applicable. Also according to Marshal Talvy, if a
business has someone standing on private property announcing a sale and
inviting someone in, that too is allowed as long as people are not loud
and boisterous. �No business wants to hear yelling on the street when
they are trying to converse with a customer and no one should have to,�
stated Marshal Talvy. Marshal Talvy then stated that businesses who
received the 30 day handbill permit will still be allowed to pass out
handbills as long as they stay within the parameters of the permit.

A
violation of this ordinance will be considered a Class One Misdemeanor
against the solicitor and/or the proprietor for which the solicitation
was made.

In the past many have stated that this ordinance is
unconstitutional. The ordinance addresses this issue. This ordinance is
not intended to limit any persons from exercising their constitutional
right to solicit funds, picket, and protest or engage in other
constitutionally protected activity. Rather its goal is to protect
citizens, tourists, visitors and other businesses or non profit
organizations from the fear and intimidation accompanying certain kinds
of solicitation that have become unwelcome and overwhelming presence in
the City of Tombstone.

According to Marshal Talvy, he is passing out
a copy of the ordinance to all the businesses and keeping track of
where he is going with the radio logs, so no one can say they did not
receive a copy. �Are we violating rights,� stated Marshal Talvy. �No,
but we are putting limitations on people while still allowing them to
promote in their own area. If someone feels it is not a proper
ordinance then they have every right to take it to a higher court, but
otherwise they will be cited as many times as needed and they can
donate money to the court coiffeurs.�
– The Tombstone News


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