Jan Proctor, Chesapeake City Attorney, finally gave a formal written reply to my free-speech issue on public sidewalks outside of Chesapeake public libraries. Here is her reply as emailed on 12/12/17:
I apologize if you were expecting additional information from me regarding your right to occupy the public sidewalk to engage in expressive conduct. It was my understanding that you and others obtaining signatures on petitions were able conduct these activities at the Chesapeake Library without a permit or express permission from the City Manager.
Also, for your knowledge, we have been working with the City Manager’s Office to develop and implement expressive activities policies applicable to traditional and limited public fora. The intent of these policies is to protect the First Amendment rights of citizens. However, as you are no doubt aware, constitutional law can be very complex and multi-faceted. Therefore, we continue to research and work on these policies, as well as proposed amendments to the City Code. In the interim, Section 46-16 of the City Code, which requires the a permit for certain political activities inside public buildings, has not been enforced to the extent that it pertains to expressive conduct in traditional public fora.
Currently, political and other expressive activities conducted outside the Chesapeake Library are allowed without the necessity of obtaining a permit or express permission of the City Manager, subject to the following requirements:
· No interference with the free passage of pedestrians and motor vehicles
· No signs should be mounted or posted (affixed) to public property
· No tables, seats or structures may be erected
· All litter must be removed
These rules, which are derived from various sections of the City Code, will eventually be supplemented with the expressive activity policies. We will be happy to provide you with copies of the policies once they have been completed and are then approved and implemented by the City Manager.