Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Art is art and junk is not

This is in Federal court?

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the beholder blinked.

Judge says botanical jalopy is just junk
Roger Croteau- Express-News

It's not art, it's junk.

That was the word from U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, who gave the Planet K store in San Marcos 30 days to remove its “art car planter” or screen it from public view.

The controversy began after Planet K, a retailer of alternative or countercultural gifts and clothing, celebrated the opening of its San Marcos shop on Interstate 35 by towing in an older-model Oldsmobile, removing the roof, trunk and hood and letting customers pound on it with a sledgehammer.
Two local artists were invited to paint the car, which was then filled with dirt and planted with cactuses.

The city issued tickets for violating its junked car ordinance, setting up a legal showdown: Is the car an artistic statement, protected by the First Amendment? Or is it just junk?
The city said the car was still a car and that because it was inoperable and lacked a valid license plate and inspection sticker, it violated the ordinance.

Planet K lawyer Paul Velte argued that it was no longer a car — it had been transformed into a planter. He also argued that ordering the car removed would violate Planet K's First Amendment right to free speech.

Planet K lost in municipal court in January. Sparks heard arguments Aug. 4 and last week upheld the city's right to order the car, or planter, removed.
“This ruling preserves the ability of the city of San Marcos to enforce state and local junked vehicle rules on an equal basis throughout the city,” said City Attorney Michael Cosentino.

A call to Planet K for comment was not returned. But owner Michael Kleinman previously vowed to fight the case all the way to the Supreme Court if he had to.