We reported this weekend that the City of Newport Beach was performing a shakedown operation on the organizers of a boat parade. The city, seeing a parade being organized, said through a very harshly worded public announcement that a permit was required so that the city can “[…]work out safety measures with the organizers and to clarify where the parade can take place[…]”, and also that “[…]no permits will be issued for boat parades or boat gatherings of any size over Memorial Day weekend” — as though the harbor was not big enough for every boat to be on the water.
We wrote that Sheriff Don Barnes had an opportunity to make up for the wrongs on Thursday, or he could continue oath-breaking behavior. If he chose to follow the Constitution, he would need to allow a peaceful assembly of people to occur, even though the parade was operating without what amounts to a “license to use the 1st Amendment” from the city of Newport Beach. This would put mud on the face of Newport for asking for such absurdities. As it turned out, this was likely the largest boat parade in the history of Newport Beach. While the OC Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol repeatedly refused to estimate the number of boats participating, unofficial counts range from “over 500” or so to even slightly over 1,000 boats (specifically, “1064 boats”– a number which, as a math guy, I will particularly remember). The unconstitutional demands from the city of Newport Beach actually rallied a huge number of additional boats that otherwise would not have participated. So thanks, City of Newport Beach, for making this Memorial Day Parade an event to remember– far bigger than any of the officially organized events, reminding everyone that government red tape always diminishes results.
I also mentioned that the Sheriff had a long history of enforcing illegal “laws”, and even included a reference to my own case where I refused to leave Dog Beach, and a Sheriff deputy gave me a criminal “trespassing ticket”.
So what happened, after we wrote about that on Sunday? On Monday, the Sheriff’s department showed up to the parade location– and instead of enforcing unconstitutional laws, they actually took photos of, with, and around the boat parade, and even helped organizers “herd cats” for the parade. Like a good neighbor would, and should do. All of this organically. And as for the city of Newport and their unconstitutional laws? The Sheriff’s department refused to enforce them. Good for them.
This morning, I also got a call that my case on Dog Beach– magically, and out of nowhere– was dropped on the first open court date since writing the article about the illegal enforcement by the Sheriff. The world works in mysterious ways. I have a feeling the issue of Dog Beach is about to pop up shortly– the swells have already switched it to the Newport side again this year. And the weather is nice.
Thanks to Don Barnes for taking the right track. I do believe some constitutional training is in order for your officers, but I appreciate what I have seen in the last 2 days, and I hope it continues.