The following question is not theoretical: can the Hoboken City Council revoke a vendor's license after its operator's racist tirade at a member of the public (captured on viral video)?
Or: as a matter of constitutional rights, is a vendor's racist rant against a member of the public protected speech?
GA's talking about the incident captured in a viral video; an apparent dispute over a parking spot on Washington Street. The video shows the owner of a 9th Cloud Vape Van unleashing a racist tirade at the driver of a van parked in front of him: "Immi!...Go back to your country!"
In response, the City Council and Mayor are sponsoring a resolution to revoke the vendor's license of the Vape Van's owner.
So, back to the questions: (1) can the City (legally) revoke the vendor's license for his racist tirade against a member of the public or (2) is the vendor's rant protected speech?
GA's no lawyer.... but in my opinion the answer is "Yes" to both.
"Yes" the City Council can revoke the vendors license, and "Yes" the foul tirade is protected speech.
IMO, there is no contradiction.
As a citizen, his offensive speech is protected; as a licensed vendor in Hoboken, his conduct appears to violate provisions of Hoboken's municipal code, Chapter 146, Article 1- Vendors, Peddlers and Itinerant Merchants. This chapter of Hoboken's municipal code relates to the regulating and granting of vendors' licenses in the City of Hoboken.
Excerpts as follows:
§ 146-3 Purpose.The purpose of this chapter is to prevent dishonest business practices, to provide protection to the citizens of the City from unregulated itinerant or transient salesmen and the annoyance consonant thereto, the safety of the residents of this community and the best interests of its welfare and to eliminate noise disturbing to the peace and tranquility of the community.The City Council has the authority to decide appropriateness of revoking a vendor's license in concert with the regulations and standards of its municipal code; in this case, does the vendor's 'hate speech' and public conduct comport with the City's regulations, or violate them?
§ 146-7 Qualifications of applicants.The general standard herein set out, relative to the qualifications of every applicant, shall be considered and applied by the Supervisor of Licenses. The applicant shall:
A. Be of good moral character.
§ 146-11 Regulations to be observed.All persons to whom a license shall be issued hereunder shall observe the following regulations:
A. No person or vehicle shall stand or be parked in a fixed location for the purpose of displaying or selling wares, merchandise or services on any public or private property where to do so causes or is likely to cause a crowd, impede vehicular or pedestrian traffic, produce annoying sounds, noise or disturbances, which interfere with the comfort of the residents,
§ 146-12 Revocation and suspension.A license may be revoked by the City Council by reason of the violation of the terms of the license, the violation of any municipal ordinance, state or federal statute or falsification in applying for a license.
Yes, free speech is a right.
The granting of a vendor' license is not a right, its a privilege.
The City has the right to regulate the granting of vendors licenses.
If the vendor wishes to exercise "hate-speech" on members of the public, it is likely most likely incompatible with the "privilege" accorded with the granting of the license.
City Council, take it away!
In the meantime, check out the vox populi on the 9th Cloud Vape Facebook page. My retinas are burning!