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A Debate We Know All Too Well

If you’ve followed the carry movement around the country, you all know that sometimes there are sometimes “issues” with what’s a public place, locations that are exempt from laws, and related matters. Turns out we’re not the only ones.

A decades-long dispute between Hare Krishnas and the Los Angeles International Airport over soliciting donations appears to be nearing a resolution, as the California Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday over whether the airport is a public place.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness of California argues that the airport is much like a public park, and should therefore be open to solicitors.

California’s other major airports are supporting Los Angeles’ position that airports are private property. …

The Los Angeles City Council passed a law in 1997 prohibiting the receiving of donations at the city-owned airport.

As Tony Woodlief said: “… anyone who ever enjoyed ‘Airplane!’ kind of has to be rooting for them just a little.”

I’m rooting for them. Not because I want a flower, but because I find it hard to believe the argument that the entire airport property can be owned by the city and yet somehow private. It’s publicly owned, it’s a public place. Obviously, I would agree there can be restrictions such as the secure areas, and reasonable bans should be allowed. The city probably owns offices, but I don’t believe that it means we get to play frisbee with out dogs down the corridors of those offices. But having a higher burden of proving a restriction is reasonable is not a bad thing.

3 Responses to “A Debate We Know All Too Well”

  1. dusty says:

    I disagree. While the airport is obviously public space, it is indoor space. There is a huge distinction between the natural space of a park or lawn, and the inside of a building. Every inch already has a designated purpose – to let people move, to let people rest & wait, commercial space, security.

    In an airport, the beggars won’t have bording passes, so they will be restricted to the bothering people trying to check in or pick up bags. Most airports exercise horribly lax security over baggage claim, and bags get stolen. The last thing BWI, Reagan National, or LAX needs is beggars congregating at baggage claim.

    Should beggars be allowed to camp out in the restrooms? There simply isn’t enough space.

  2. Mikee says:

    If the entire airport is a private space, they can ban licensees throughout the property. Seems there is something like this argument already going on in Georgia, right now.

    • Bitter says:

      Beggars aren’t allowed to camp out in the bathrooms at parks, either. There can be reasonable restrictions placed on the use of a public place. Given the size of most airports, I do believe there should be some level of reasonable accommodation for some form of public use. I’m open to debate about where that line is drawn. According to the article, whether or not it’s considered public space at all does not settle the issue, it merely determines the level of scrutiny the government’s likely to face when setting restrictions.

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