OC Hires Law Firm to Address Street Performer Issues - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

OC Hires Law Firm to Address Street Performer Issues

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OCEAN CITY, Md.- Ocean City has hired the legal firm Venabal to help address complaints and concerns regarding street performers. 

Street performers have been a source of contention for many years according to Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan, but after a pole dancer showed up this summer they've decided to take action. 

"In the past three years we've faced a number of challenges with street performers from the street performer side, and from the merchant side. We're really trying to determine what the First Amendment rights they have are, and what we can do to try to make it work for both the street performers, and the merchants, and the visitors. Its been difficult," said Mayor Meehan.  

The town has gone to court multiple times. 

"We've been challenged in court by the street performers represented by the ACLU. We've lost those challenges. We've probably spent over $250,000 in court," said Mayor Meehan. The Venabal firm specializes in First Amendment issues.  Meehan said they will work together to define their existing ordinances on the boardwalk, and review their past lawsuits.  

Some residents of Ocean City like Norm Jones agreed they should keep fighting. 

"I think whatever legal battle Ocean City gets in to keep it family friendly is okay," said Jones. 

There are residents like Hugh Cavallaro who said the town is fighting a losing battle.  

"Having lost three times in the past, I would venture to say that their odds aren't very good to go at it a fourth time," said Cavallaro. 

Meehan says for Ocean City to stay a family friendly resort town something should be done. 

"We've got to make sure that we can clearly define it, and set rules that we can hopefully live by and make things a little better," said Mayor Meehan. 

The Mayor is hopeful that since they secured a law firm specializing in First Amendment rights this time around will be different.

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