Saturday, February 03, 2001

Cabby wants city to let him deliver flowers

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Cincinnati cab driver says city ordinances have no heart and now wants a federal judge to help deliver his Valentine. In a lawsuit against the city filed in U.S. District Court, Kelvin Davis says current laws prohibit cab drivers from delivering flowers and he is asking the court to act before Valentine's Day.

        “I contend that the de facto ban on Valentine's Day flower delivery is a violation of my First and Fourteenth Amendment rights,” his lawsuit said. “The city cannot possibly have a compelling interest in denying my right to legally deliver flowers within the Central Business District.”

        Deputy City Solicitor Robert Johnstone said Friday there is nothing in Mr. Davis' motion that pulls on his heartstrings.

        “Our approach is that we think the language in the complaint is too flowery and we will ask the judge to dismiss it,” he said. “Mr. Davis routinely files (lawsuits) against the city.”

        Mr. Davis, who leases a cab from Yellow Cab Co., said this is not a mere trifle, but an issue of small business owners battling bureaucracy.

        The problem, he said, is that ordinances don't allow cabs to park at downtown meters long enough to make deliveries and that drivers aren't allowed to leave their cars in areas designated for cabs. He said he risks citations, fines and having his car towed while making deliveries.

        “Maybe we will ask for a change of venue to the district court in Loveland,” Mr. Johnstone said.


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