St. Pete to Consider "Woodstock Santa" Ordinance

In a recent issue of CL, I reported on Pass-A-Grille gallery owner Evander Preston and his Christmas tradition of handing out bourbon and cigars to the homeless at Williams Park. As online comments revealed, some downtowners are upset by Preston’s gift-giving. Now the controversy has reached the higher echelons of St. Petersburg's government.

On the City Council agenda for tomorrow, Bill Foster is expected to ask the city's Public Safety, Services and Infrastructure Committee to review a possible ordinance that would ban handing out alcohol on city streets or parks.

In a memo sent to Council (see below), Foster calls Preston the "Woodstock Santa" and proposes an ordinance that would prevent future gift giving.

He then rails against Preston:

“Mr. Preston is an affront to every business owner and resident of the downtown area, and should not be a welcomed figure in St. Petersburg.”

The debate over Preston's actions is also fierce in this week's Going Postal section. Read those comments here.

And if you haven't heard the audio from a Los Angeles radio interview done by Preston, check it out here.