Friday, May 22, 2009

Watering the Flower People

Back in the ‘60s, Carmel, fearing that it would become another Haight-Ashbury, adopted an ordinance against free-range hippies. The city council tried tried to ban “an extraordinary influx of undesirable and unsanitary visitors to the city, sometimes known as ‘hippies,’” finding that “unless proper regulations are adopted immediately the use and enjoyment of public property will be jeopardized if not entirely eliminated... for normal public use.” The ordinance banned climbing trees; sitting on monuments, fountains, fences, steps and planted areas; and lying on lawns (i.e., Devendorf Park). The California Supreme Court overturned the ordinance as discriminatory and unconstitutional. Then Carmel installed water sprinklers to discourage hippies from gathering in the parks. And perhaps to clean them up a little bit!

(Photo: Hippies in Haight-Ashbury in 1996 courtesy of

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