JUDGE DECLINES TO HOLD HEARING
ON FALUN GONG GROUP'S INJUNCTION REQUEST
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
February 1, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A San Francisco Superior Court judge
refused today to issue an immediate order requested by a Falun
Gong spiritual group to bar city funding of the Chinese New Year
Parade on Feb. 11.
Judge Ronald Quidachay declined this morning to grant a temporary
restraining order, and then this afternoon announced he will not
hold an additional hearing on whether to grant a preliminary injunction
requested in the group's lawsuit against the city.
Joseph Breall, a lawyer for the Western Falun Dafa Association,
commonly known as Falun Gong, said the group will continue to
pursue the lawsuit filed this morning and will now seek a permanent
injunction against the city at a hearing later this spring.
Joseph Breall, Falun Gong attorney.
Breall estimated that hearing will be held in Superior Court
in early April.
Although this year's parade will be over, he said the case will
affect future parades.
"The case is alive and well," Breall said. "The
court's ultimate decision will affect how the city funds parades
from here on in."
Falun Gong claims in the suit that the city should be required
to take back a $77,000 parade organization grant given to the
San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce because the chamber
discriminated when it denied Falun Gong a place in the parade.
The lawsuit contends the alleged discrimination violates a no-bias
clause in the grant agreement as well as the city's administrative
The lawsuit also seeks an order barring the city from providing
free police and fire services for the parade.
The Falun Gong association also sued the Chinese Chamber of Commerce
in a second part of the lawsuit that accuses the chamber of violating
the state's anti-discrimination law.
Breall said the group will also pursue that part of the lawsuit,
but said he did not know whether it will be heard at the same
time as the bid for a preliminary injunction against the city.
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce has said it excluded Falun Gong
from the parade because it is a political group.
Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis
Herrera, said the city contends that the parade sponsor's decision
on what groups to include in the parade is protected by the right
of free speech.
Dorsey said, "The U.S. Supreme Court has established that
a parade sponsor is a private association that has a First Amendment
right to communicate its message in the way it wants.
"It would be unconstitutional for the city to require the
inclusion or exclusion of a group in the parade," Dorsey
The spokesman said the city also maintains that Falun Gong has
no standing to challenge the grant agreement between the city
and the chamber and that Falun Gong should take any discrimination
complaints it has to the city Human Rights Commission before going
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