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News, Celebrity, Santa Monica

Actor Robert Davi To Lead Vigil Saturday Night In Support Of Nativity Scenes

Robert Davi plans to protest of the Nativity display banning tonight, Dec. 1 in Santa Monica at Palisades Park.
Courtesy Image
Robert Davi plans to protest of the Nativity display banning tonight, Dec. 1 in Santa Monica at Palisades Park.

Posted Dec. 1, 2012, 1:32 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

In protest of the Nativity scenes banning in Santa Monica, veteran actor and singer Robert Davi is urging his Twitter followers and fans to join him today, Dec. 1 at 6:45 p.m. for a vigil in support of the Nativity scenes at Palisades Park.

"Meet at corner of Ocean and Washington Ave in SM," Davi tweeted.

A federal judge sided with the City of Santa Monica at a hearing Nov. 19 where lawyers on behalf of supporters of Santa Monica Nativity scenes in Palisades Park asked for the annual Christmas tradition to be allowed until the outcome of a lawsuit is decided.

The Santa Monica City Council unanimously voted June 12 to prohibit erected structures to be on display at Palisades Park. Accordingly, a Christmas tradition that has existed in Santa Monica decades before many current residents moved into town will no longer be allowed to take place.

Specifically, the council’s action prohibited the display of nativity scenes at Palisades Park, a tradition that has been allowed by City Hall for nearly 60 years.

Until last year, displays depicting the birth of Jesus Christ were allowed at Palisades Park as part of an exception to the general citywide rule prohibiting the erection of structures in public parks.

For decades, City Hall allowed religious institutions to use Palisades Park to erect unattended displays during the Christmas season. Through 2010, the City Hall exception was utilized by groups or churches wishing to celebrate the birth of Christ as told in the gospels of Luke and Matthew and presented the popular manger scene in diorama form.

Three-dimensional statutes of a baby Jesus surrounded by Joseph, Mary, and various angels and shepherds attracted many onlookers to a popular stretch of Ocean Boulevard.

Other displays existed as well, promoting the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, for example. There were also atheist and solstice displays.

However, as Christmas 2011 approached, the number of groups requesting use of Palisades Park under the City Hall exception far exceeded the space available. Local officials resorted to a lottery system to determine who would be entitled to set up a display.

The lottery was employed “in order to allocate display opportunities in an unbiased manner.”

“This was done to effectuate First Amendment requirements of neutrality and thereby avoid legal risks,” staff said.

City Hall’s initial decision sparked a controversy, particularly because the groups displaying nativity scenes at Palisades Park now had stiff competition for space.

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Dec. 1, 2012, 2:15:42 am

stewart said...

the city does not own Palisades Park to begin with do they?

Dec. 1, 2012, 3:18:44 am

L. McCann said...

Even the Atheist had a nativity scene/evolution was the theme. I found most of the nativity scenes "tacky" low budget and not attractive at all. Maybe instead of taking them down they should be given a "face lift."

Dec. 1, 2012, 7:17:22 am

mangeleno said...

The City could solve this "crisis" very simply. It claims that allocating spaces has become a time-consuming and costly effort. Therein lies the solution. Maintain the lottery system with the followig tweaks. Recapture costs by use of a non-refundable application fee. Restrict the lottery to residents only and require proof of a SAMO street address. The tweaks will reduce the number of applicants. Restricting permits to residents only will further reduce the pool while maintaining neutrality. Of course, since such an idea makes perfect sense3, the chances of it becoming implemented by our City government range from zero to zilch.

Dec. 1, 2012, 8:46:23 am

GordonSantaMonica said...

That is what is called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. The only question is ... did you get a permit to assemble a crowd to march????? If you are just staying in one place ... an assembly area ...that is your right FIRSTS aMENDMENT RIGHT under the Constitution.

Dec. 1, 2012, 2:20:57 pm

Michele Poussin said...

this is a shame not to continue this beautiful tradition to remind everybody the meaning of Christmas!!!!!! NOEL

Dec. 1, 2012, 3:00:05 pm

martin marteen said...

I am not religious, nor urge people to be or not to be. I believe that those opposed to displays , are just spoilers. What is the harm with the message displayed. People enjoy it without violence or disruption of other people's equanimity, and most of all, children of all religions enjoy the display. After 100's of years of religosity, this country has done well. Far better than any country on earth. That is proof enough for me. For appropriate dates, allow Jews, Muslims or any other religion to display as well, assuming they have a tradition to do so. Don't make one up, please, we have enough religious material as is. I don't know of any displays by Atheists, other than a none display is their display. I don't know if Stalin or Hitler displayed anything, I am told they were Atheists. Feel free to look up what they did and emulate their message. May be you can celebrate May Day as they did in the Soviet Union. I will visit it.

Dec. 1, 2012, 9:00:55 pm

June Robertson said...

Used to walk there all the would be so missed. What a crazy world.

Dec. 2, 2012, 1:46:24 am

stewart said...

this is what happens when the tyranny of a majority exists (in this example SMRR) where there is no opposition to push back on decisions. you can object, you can speak it, but SMRR is not going to tolerate any alternative than their agenda.

Dec. 2, 2012, 5:44:55 am

MJ said...

This all started because you hypocritical, right winger religious zealots had to deface something that you didn't agree with. Just like with your political views, you're behind the times and the court of public opinion won. All you can do is whine like spoiled children. Sorry we don't all believe your fairy tales. Maybe if you learn to place nice with others, we'll let you have your little toy back in the future. Until then, cut it out and act like adults already.

Dec. 2, 2012, 5:46:57 am

Wendy Vollase said...

Who the heck is Robert Davi? Scareface? He's a movie actor from the 80s or something?

Dec. 13, 2012, 9:25:55 pm

lorie valenti said...

it look's like the devil is in the palisades , let him play his game's. god will fix him

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