Religious Hucksters of T-Shirts Collide With the Establishment

Free speech and T-shirts.

Here comes the San Diego-based One World One Family Now religious group, selling T-shirts on the street.

Since spring, the group's followers have set up tables near Seaport Village, the Star of India, the Zoo, Balboa Park, Cabrillo National Monument, Old Town and various beach spots.

Councilman Ron Roberts is unhappy. The Pacific Beach Town Council is unhappy.

Perhaps most unhappy of all is Scott Johnson, owner of Shades & Shirts on Ocean Boulevard in Pacific Beach:

"This is hurting my business. I pay $6,000 a month in rent, and here are these bums, paying no rent and no sales tax, selling their shirts right across from my store."

Blame a federal court decision involving San Francisco's waterfront and giving nonprofit groups the right to sell their wares openly. A question of the First Amendment.

Johnson called the cops. The cops wrote a citation, later rescinded when the One World attorney waved a copy of the court decision.

Now, the San Diego city attorney is drafting an ordinance for City Council consideration that would regulate the "time, place and manner" of T-shirt sales by nonprofit groups.

That could mean vamoose from in front of Johnson's store and from Balboa Park. Other areas would be restricted.

John West, a former Hare Krishna who started One World One Family Now last year, predicts a court collision:

"This is a society that believes economic development will bring happiness. Businessmen become our gurus. They don't want competition or new voices."

Because it has little overhead, One World can sell cheaper than Shades & Shirts and others. That annoys Johnson, who suspects One World is a money-making venture masquerading as a religious group.

The ordinance being written would require that a certain percentage of each shirt sold by a nonprofit group be devoted to the group's altruistic message; otherwise, the group would be treated as any other business.

Stand by for municipal message-checkers.

Sterling Unmoved by Seminar

Here and there.

* The state of knowledge.

After the controversy over Municipal Judge Larry Stirling ordering court workers to clean up after a defendant who is HIV positive, an epidemiologist from the county Department of Health Services gave a seminar last week to judges about AIDS.

Epidemiologist Michelle Ginsberg told the judges that there is no known case of someone contracting AIDS from sputum from a coughing AIDS patient.

Stirling was among those who attended the voluntary session.

He says he remains unconvinced on the subject of how disease is spread:

"What we got was the party line, which was not relevant to the situation I was in."

Still, he says he ordered the cleanup not because the defendant is HIV positive but because he left a mess in the courtroom. Stirling says that, HIV or not, he would have ordered a cleanup:

"It's just basic hygiene."

* Joining the parade.

One of the grand marshals of San Diego's 17th Annual Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade, set for July 20: ex-FBI agent from San Diego, Frank Buttino, now suing the FBI for firing him when he acknowledged being gay.

Killea, Church Mend Fence

Church and state.

State Sen. Lucy Killea (D-San Diego), banned from receiving Communion by San Diego Catholic Bishop Leo T. Maher in 1989 because she favors keeping abortion legal, has reached what she calls "a very amicable truce" with Maher's successor, Bishop Robert Brom.

The deal: If Killea does not try to receive Communion in San Diego, Brom will not raise a fuss if she receives Communion in Sacramento.

Brom has said his dealings with Killea will stay private. Killea says she may talk again with Brom in a year or so about the San Diego ban.

"We'll get back together at some point and work out something, I think," she said.

"It's not high on my agenda, because I'm satisfied with the way I'm carrying on my church activities now."

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