FC: Green Party sues over Washington DC's Demopublican city mascot

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Fri Mar 29 2002 - 11:05:14 PST

[Another terrific argument for taxpayer-subsidized artwork? --Declan]



For immediate release:
Friday, March 29, 2002

Attorney Jim Klimaski, 202-296-5600
Michael Piacsek (plaintiff), 202-638-7760
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator
202-518-5624, scottmclartyat_private


Legal action against the D.C. Arts Commission's use of public funding on a 
project to promote Democratic and Republican Party mascots

NOTE: The request for the temporary restraining order will be made on 
Friday, March 29 (postponed from Thursday, March 28) in U.S. District Court 
at 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.  For the time and courtroom, 
please inquire at the courthouse.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On behalf of the D.C. Statehood Green Party, attorney 
Jim Klimaski will file a complaint and seek a restraining order to block 
the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities from displaying 'Party Animals' 
on April 12.  The request for the temporary restraining order will be made 
before a judge in U.S. District Court on Friday, March 29.  The two 
plaintiffs are the D.C. Statehood Green Party and Michael Piacsek.

The D.C. Statehood Green Party has undertaken legal action in response to 
the Commission's choice of the donkey and elephant -- the mascots of the 
Democratic and Republican Parties -- for the major art project to be 
exhibited throughout D.C. from April until October in dozens of 
installations.  In selecting the animals, the Commission is presenting them 
as the mascots of Washington, D.C., comparable to the Miami dolphin, the 
Cincinnati pig, New York's Big Apple, and other city symbols.

"This is a major publicly funded arts project that will advertise the 
Democratic and Republican Parties, to the exclusion of D.C.'s large bloc of 
independent voters and voters registered in other parties," said Scott 
McLarty, media coordinator of the Statehood Green Party.

"We fully support publicly funded art work, including political expression 
in art," added party member Stacy Malkan.  "But this is a bald-faced 
partisan promotion, a misuse of taxpayers' money, and a violation of our 
rights.  The Democratic and Republican mascots were arbitrarily chosen and 
don't represent the range of political ideals and party affiliation.  It's 
especially an affront in the middle of an election year -- it negates the 
American value of fair competition."

Statehood Greens note that they've achieved major party status, just the 
Democratic and Republican Parties,  and that Statehood Green candidates 
have received percentages comparable to those of Republicans in 
elections.  In the District of Columbia, Ralph Nader received 6%, closely 
trailing George W. Bush's 9% in 2000.

"Imagine if the Commission had chosen only the donkey, in honor of the 
Democratic Party, as the city's mascot," said Scott McLarty.  "Republicans 
would be furiously, and rightfully so.  They'd demand an immediate 
injunction.  That's what we're demanding."

"If the Commission doesn't believe that the project promotes political 
parties, then why did they title it 'Party Animals'?"


The D.C. Statehood Green Party  http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org


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