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Thursday, July 20, 2000

Sept. 15 hearing
set on street
performers’ motion

The city says it won't enforce the
restrictions until after the hearing

By Debra Barayuga


A state judge will hear arguments for a preliminary injunction sought by three Waikiki street performers who allege their First Amendment rights are violated by a new ordinance limiting when and where they can perform.

Judge Virginia Crandall yesterday set a hearing on the motion for Sept. 15.

The city agreed not to enforce the ordinance until then, said Brent White, ACLU legal director and a lawyer for the plaintiffs. If injunctive relief is granted, it will remain in effect until a trial on the merits is held.

Street magician Steve Williams, saxophonist Steve Sunn and Shawn Kawelo, who leads the Greater Mount Zion Holiness Church youth group, had sued the city last month, seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from enforcing the ordinance, which was to go into effect July 12.

The ordinance limits the number of individuals or groups to six who can perform between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. at six designated Waikiki locations. Performers are also required to obtain a permit a month in advance. Violators face fines up to $200.

Specifically, the ordinance bans all "singing, rapping, reciting, dancing, miming, juggling, puppeteering, demonstrating magic, acting, creating tangible art, or playing music, including drumming and other percussion, or any similar act or demonstration.

"The ordinance thus totally forecloses a whole range of protected speech on almost every public sidewalk in Waikiki, including activities at the heart of the First Amendment," say plaintiffs in their TRO motion.

The ordinance exempts "city-sponsored performers" who dress in Hawaiian clothing and promote a "Hawaiian sense of place."

City attorneys have argued that the ordinance takes into account the concerns of street performers and the safety of pedestrians.

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