So much for that mayoral permission slip.

David Millette, a local artist who late last month received personal permission from Mayor Bob Filner to sell his handmade jewelry in Ocean Beach, got a ticket from the San Diego Police Department last week anyway.

The ticket charged him with two misdemeanors, one for selling without a business tax certificate and the other for selling without a solicitor’s card.

Millette’s police encounter came two days after Voice of San Diego reported on the special permission Filner granted him after Millette attended one of the mayor’s monthly meet-and-greet sessions at City Hall.

At that meeting, Millette told the mayor he believed the city’s regulations permitting local art sales in beaches and parks violated the First Amendment. His jewelry is a hand-made piece of art, he said, so he can’t be forced to enter a lottery or buy a permit to exercise free speech.

Filner agreed, and took advantage of his ability in the municipal code to give someone permission to sell art in parks and beaches.

Millette was ticketed at for selling at his normal spot on the Ocean Beach seawall on Friday afternoon, and filed a complaint with the Police Department’s internal affairs.

Millette said a police sergeant — he couldn’t recall his name — came to his home in Chula Vista later that night to apologize for the hassle and assure him the ticket would be thrown out.

“He told me (the ticketing officer) was new, it was one of his first days on patrol and he just didn’t know what he was doing and had made a mistake,” Millette said. “He said the captain would sign off on it and I didn’t have to worry about it.”

Millette said the officer also told him the ticket included incorrect information that would have provided cause for a court to throw it out regardless.

Neither the department nor Filner’s office responded to requests for comment.

Millette said he had another confrontation with police on Sunday. An officer asked to see his letter from the mayor, but told him it wasn’t valid because it wasn’t the original. Millette carries a laminated copy of the letter, and the original is on file with the Park and Recreation department, where Filner originally sent it.

“They backed off after that, and went and harassed some guy doing magic tricks,” Millette said.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Andrew Keatts is a former managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.