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Banner rejection clarified

ENCINITAS — To honor the late Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan, organizers behind the annual Arts Alive program intended to display 100 banners with Houlihan’s image on the backside. Houlihan was known for supporting the arts in Encinitas.[amt_override]

As part of a 13-year tradition, the banners also feature various artists’ paintings. In a controversial move, the banners were rejected by City Manager Gus Vina late last fall. According to Vina, the banners violate the city’s banner ordinance.

Vina ruled the backside of the banners were “political” because of a section in the city’s banner ordinance that states: “Said banners are for civic and nonprofit city-wide recognized special events.”

According to Vina, Houlihan is a political figure and therefore shouldn’t appear on the back of banners that are for a city event.

The Arts Alive banners bearing the image of late Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan are said to be in violation of Encinitas city’s banner ordinance. Photo by Adrienne Kutner

“She was about more than the arts,” Vina said. There’s an inconsistency in the content of the banners.” It’s no different than MLK or JFK appearing on banners.”

Mayor Jerome Stocks, who often disagreed with Houlihan when she served on the City Council, agrees with Vina’s interpretation. But he insists he had no hand in dismissing the banners.

“This is not me versus anybody,” Stocks said. “The banners were simply against the city’s municipal code.”

The 101 Artists Colony, Cardiff 101 Mainstreet, Leucadia Mainstreet and the Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association collaborated on the Arts Alive banners.

The banners ran into early trouble when DEMA voted to withdraw its permit to display the banners.

“What was originally described to us in the application for the permit was drastically different than what was submitted,” DEMA President Treggon Owens said.

In order to display a modified version of the banners and block out Houlihan’s likeness, organizers from Arts Alive spent $800 on vinyl material to cover the backside of the posters, according to Danny Salzhandler, who coordinated the project.

Arts Alive will display the artists’ paintings at 2 p.m. on Feb. 4 at 1950 N. Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia. According Salzhandler, Houlihan’s image will still be visible.

Following a reception and auction, the backside of the banners will be covered. Artists will then hang up the banners on light poles from Leucadia to Cardiff. The banners will be on display until May.

The banners were also unveiled in their original form at an art show and concert at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach on Jan. 18.

“The banners were added as an afterthought to the show,” Salzhandler said. “But they got a really good reaction from the crowd. Not everybody knew who she was, but the entire crowd was really cheering.”

Salzhandler added:“We never intended for the banners to be political in any way,” he said. “We just wanted to honor someone who was sitting on the City Council.”

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embarassed February 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm

“This is not me versus anybody,” Stocks said. “The banners were simply against the city’s municipal code.”
NO,THEY ARE NOT! The Arts Alive Banners are honoring a dedicated councilmember who served our community for over a decade. She got more votes, when she ran for office than any who ran with her and she died in office. There is nothing political at all here. Stocks is the one who is calling the shots and calling it political. I question how Stocks would feel if he knew that political enemies would fight against citizens of our city to honor him, if he were to die in office. What is even more repugnent is the city, Stocks, rejecting a permit for Maggie Houlihan’s Memorial at Cottonwood Creek Park. That did not stop the memorial, but they did it without a permit.
And NO this is not like putting up banners of JFK or MLK. It is like honoring JFK or MLK for their service after their untimely death in office.
I am very embarassed by our mayor.

kathleen2 February 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm

How sad that we have a mayor who is so jeolous of someone who has died.

christopher newton April 13, 2012 at 9:05 am

A complete freedom of speech doesn’t exist in the U.S.. Speech is clasified into speech types that are considered if/when a situatiion is taken to court. Honoring a sevicemember is quite alright, but let’s consider the consequences of that code being eliminated entirely because of this desire for a complete freedom of speech. And mind you all that this is one person trying to decorate a space in the community that ideally belongs to ALL its members.

I welcome your feedback.

Comments are closed.