PORTLAND (AP) -A Kennebunk restaurateur on Friday lost his second request for a judge to suspend an ordinance that forced him to remove umbrellas promoting Hebrew National hot dogs and other products.

In ruling against an injunction, U.S. Judge Gene Carter found that it was unlikely the owner of Bartley’s Dockside would prevail in his lawsuit seeking to overturn the town sign ordinance.

Brian Bartley sued the town, asserting that a code enforcement officer violated his free speech rights by ordering the removal of the umbrellas and that Kennebunk’s sign ordinance is not equally enforced.

He also argued that the ordinance limiting businesses to three signs is unconstitutional. In this case, the town said the umbrellas fit the definition of signs because they advertised products.

The case caused ripples across the community as Bartley charged that code enforcement officer Paul Demers made an anti-Semitic remark in ordering Bartley to take down the Hebrew National umbrellas.

Demers, who denied making any anti-Semitic remarks, responded in court that the problem was with all of Bartley’s umbrellas, including others that advertised Poland Spring, Red Hook and Shipyard Ale.

Carter already ruled against a request to stop the town from enforcing the ordinance while the lawsuit was pending. Bartley later asked Carter to reconsider his March decision in an amended lawsuit.

While not ruling on the merits of the lawsuit, Carter wrote in Friday’s ruling that he was unconvinced by Bartley’s arguments.

Carter noted in his 32-page ruling that the U.S. Supreme Court had given its blessing to strict sign ordinances.

The judge noted that Bartley “certainly is not precluded from putting out umbrellas with no logos on them… (Bartley) is free to put out as many logo-free umbrellas as (he) wishes.”

AP-ES-07-25-03 1342EDT



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