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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Government & Elections | Police State and Prisons
First Federal Court Hearing of the Nudist Class Action Lawsuit on January 17
On January 17th, 2013 Federal Judge held the first hearing of the nudist class action case against the nudity ban in San Francisco. Body freedom activists held a rally before the hearing.
FIRST FEDERAL COURT HEARING OF THE NUDIST CLASS ACTOIN LAWSUIT ON JANUARY 17, 2013
By Gypsy Taub
Please join us for protests against the nudity ban on January 23rd at 7 PM at DCCC meeting and FEBRUARY 1ST @ 12 NOON at the CITY HALL steps
more info at www.MyNakedTruth.TV
In October of 2012 Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced legislation that would criminalize public nudity in San Francisco. On November 14th body freedom activists Mithch Hightower, Gypsy Taub, George Davis and Rusty Mills filed a class action lawsuit against the City of San Francisco for 1st and 14th Amendment rights violations. Led by attorney Christina DiEdoardo, a group of a few dozen nudists and supporters marched to the Federal building (mostly naked) and filed the lawsuit.
On January 17 the first hearing took place with Federal Judge Edward Chen. The nudists want the Judge to issue a preliminary injunction that would stop the nudity ban from being enforced until he is done hearing their case and making his decision. The City of San Francisco –well, not really the city but the bureaucrats that call themselves the city government – are asking the Judge to dismiss the case.
We held a protest against the nudity ban outside of the Federal Building before and after the hearing. There were a lot of news reporters, I would say at least 3 dozen. There were at least a dozen protesters in various stages of undress, at least half of us were naked or almost naked. It was cold so at one point I had to cover my back with my jacket, and some others were partially covered because of the cold.
It really felt more like a press conference than a regular protest. It was great to see the familiar faces of the news reporters and the new faces too. It felt like a big party. There was a lot of excitement and good energy being exchanged. I myself had never had so many mics and cameras pointed at me at once. It was fun. Most questions asked of me were about nudity being political expression.
I made a speech about free speech and what it means to me having been raised in communist Russia without it. Natty Delphine and Danny Devero from Europe – who had just returned from Mexico to participate in body freedom activism – sang a song. Danny was wearing a dress and kept showing off his butt. Natty was dressed in a semi-transparent red burka. Even though Natty is from Germany she has a very Middle Eastern look and gorgeous eyes. She looked perfect in her burka. She was holding a sign that said: “Love or Fear”.
Denise who hosts a live TV show called “Liberal Buzz” on local public access station made a short speech where she said that Scott Wiener as well as the other 5 Supervisors who voted in favor of the nudity ban are not moderate democrats but republicans, and that they should reregister as such. Denise is a hard core activist and has worked with a number of progressive Supervisors on their campaigns.
After the protest was finished we went to the hearing.
Our lawyer Christina DiEdoardo – whom I got to love dearly – said she liked Judge Chen and that he had a good track record. Based on her opinion, I was expecting Judge Chen to be cool. But I have to admit that I liked him even better when I saw him in the court room.
I always pay close attention to people’s energy. Judge Chen has very beautiful and very powerful energy. He has a radiant smile – kind of a humble, reserved smile, but non-the-less radiant and very warm. I don’t know how he will rule on our case but I can’t lie about how I felt. I felt great. He made me feel happy – just his presence alone was healing and hope-giving.
He listened to the arguments that Christina put forth. She was comparing being nude in a nudity-hostile environment to burning the American flag and saying that it was apolitical statement. The judge said he didn’t feel that was the case. He said that a nude person is not necessarily making a political statement, she/he could just be sunbathing.
If you ask me personally, I agree with Christina 100%. Taking your clothes off in our society is no different from a Middle Eastern woman uncovering her face in a town where women are expected to cover up their faces. You could say that she might just be sunbathing or what not – and that may be the case sometimes – but really, it’s a political statement more than anything. So is nudity in a prudish society like ours. In a free society it wouldn’t be a political statement – but we are still very far from that kind of freedom.
The Deputy City Attorney Tara Steely was a total bimbo in a suit, I am sorry to say. No one is born stupid but some people choose to make a career out of stupidity. She was a screaming case of that. I was very surprised that the gangsters who are running that branch of the government couldn’t have found an attorney who at least sounds less stupid. I think they picked her based on psychology books that advise that in court blond women get ruled in favor of more often than brunettes. I have read a whole article about how to dress and look in court and what statistics show - it was about making a good impression on the judge through manipulative means such as appearance, facial expressions, voice intonations and such. It seemed like she was trained by that manual word to word. Her fake sweet voice, her fake smile, her blond hair, her shapely figure – I swear they picked her based on her looks and her acting skills. They were hoping for a stupid judge, but they miscalculated.
Ms Steely spent about half of her time talking about how much people in the Castro hate the sight of the nudists, and the other half - about how nudists cause car accidents because people stare at them so hard. Do you see a contradiction here or am I tripping? If Castro residents and visitors hate looking at us naked then why are they staring so hard? Boy, speaking of perversions! Now that’s truly perverted – staring at someone you hate to look at.
But since Judge Chen is not stupid and since it wasn’t his first time to see a cute looking blond – he didn’t lose his common sense. He asked Steely if she had any facts to support her claims about car accidents. She said she didn’t but that it was irrelevant. She said the city didn’t need to wait for an accident to happen, that their goal was to prevent it.
Going by her argument we should prohibit pretty women from walking the streets – who hasn’t heard cars honk at a pretty woman? I wonder if Ms Steely is, perhaps, from another country or another planet, rather. Has she not seen bright colored bill boards that are placed – would you believe it? – right there along the highways – and are specifically designed to distract drivers? My favorite ones are the ones that light up at night and show you animated commercials. Ms Steely needs to criminalize Coca Cola first.. .But, oh, wait, Coca Cola owns politicians, so never mind…Coca Cola is also famous for murdering union activists. – Sorry, I forgot I was supposed to focus on the nudity ban – don’t get me going!
Another claim that Ms Steely made was that 85% of Castro business owners reported that their business was suffering from public nudity.
I personally remember how Urban Nudists were trying to make Castro into the first clothing-optional neighborhood in the city a couple years back. I remember hearing that all but very few (like about 2) businesses were supportive of their idea. Where did that 85% number come from? I have been told by an activist that Scott Wiener held a meeting for Castro merchants. Out of about 200 members about 30 showed up. The goal of that meeting was to badmouth nudists, so most merchants didn’t bother to show, and a few of them walked out of the meeting. Out of the remaining merchants supposedly 85% were against the nudists – but can we believe Scott Wiener that even that was true? I personally wouldn’t. And in any event, that kind of a scenario definitely doesn’t reflect the opinions of 85% of Castro merchants. That looks more like about 11%. I wasn’t present at that merchant meeting and can’t claim the accuracy of the numbers given to me. But I can tell you one thing for sure – that number (85%) was pulled out of someone’s ass (Wiener’s most likely). There were no polls conducted, no legitimate research was done.
Nudists have actually become a tourist attraction. Tourists love to take photos of the nudists as well as with the nudists. According to George Davis commercial rent prices are at a record high. So you really can’t say that nudists are destroying business in the Castro.
I wish I could point out at least one legitimate thing that Ms Steely said. But unfortunately, everything that came out of her mouth was either an outrageous lie or a ridiculous rationalization based on total ignorance and total disregard of the progress made by humanity in the past 500 years.
Our lawyer Christina DiEdoardo made a number of very good statements. One of my favorite ones was when she talked about protecting the public. She said that laws against smoking made sense because scientific studies clearly show that second hand smoke causes cancer. In contrast, “there is no scientific research that shows that leaving nudists alone will cause cancer or any disease.” – she said.
Even though the Judge is not convinced that nudity by itself constitutes political speech, he did corner the Deputy City Attorney Tara Steely when he asked her what would happen if a nude person were to hold a political sign. After beating around the bush for a few minutes she had to admit that the nude protester would get prosecuted. Steely said that if exemptions were made for political speech it would defeat the whole legislation. Doesn’t this make it clear that this legislation is incompatible with the US Constitution?
Judge Chen also expressed a notion that individual rights are more important than the opinion of the crowd.
Steely also claimed that another danger to the public is residents having to create human barricades to shield the children from the view of naked bodies. It appears as though Ms Steely has never been to Castro and is hoping that the Judge hasn’t either.
By far the best news report about the court hearing that I have seen in the media came from Oregon Herald, a non-commercial free daily publication. I guess that explains it: non-commercial (they don’t prostitute themselves to businesses that buys advertising) and free (they don’t prostitute themselves to public opinion either). You can read it here: