THOMAS v. REAGAN

USDC Cr. No. 84-3552

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
WILLIAM THOMAS, pro se,      
              Plaintiff,      )
     v.                             Civil Action No. 84-3552
                              )     (Judge Louis Oberdorfer)
UNITED STATES, et al.,
                Defendants.

FEDERAL DEFENDANTS' STATEMENT OF MATERIAL
FACTS IN SUPPORT OF THEIR MOTION FOR
JUDGMENT ON THE RECORD

The federal defendants hereby submit a statement of material facts in support of their motion for judgment on the record in this matter, and as an aid to the Court to help focus the administrative record supporting the Lafayette Park regulation, 51 Fed. Reg. 7556 (March 5, 1986), which plaintiff has now challenged.

1. History of Lafayette Park

1. Lafayette Park, originally known as the President's Park, is a rectangular area of approximately seven acres of land situated directly north of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. Administrative Record of Lafayette Park Rulemaking at I.I.8 (hereinafter "Admin. Rec. at _____ "). It is bounded on the east by Madison Place, on the north by H Street, and on the west by Jackson Place. Proposed Lafayette Park Rulemaking, 50 FR 33571 (August 20, 1985) at 33571 (hereinafter "Prop. Rule, 50 FR _________ ".); Admin. Rec. at II.B.1.

2. The property was one of the first parcels of land donated by the original patentees to the District Commissioners for the formation of the Federal City (later, Washington) in 1791. Admin. Rec. at I.I.16. The site of what is now Lafayette

1

Park (Park) was originally included in the area known as the President's House and the President's Park, according to the plans of Major Pierre L'Enfant. Admin. Rec. at I.I.8. The entire area extended from 15th to 17th Streets, N.W., and from H Street on the north and to the Potomac River on the south. Admin. Rec. at I.I.20. In the early 1800's, President Thomas Jefferson authorized the Park's separation from the President's House, intending its use for local residents and visitors to Washington. Admin. Rec. at I.I.8. The boundaries of the Park have not been altered to the present day. Admin. Rec. at I.I.20.

3. In 1824, the grounds were improved and walks laid out in the square on the occasion of the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette, the French general and hero of the American Revolution. Admin. Rec. at I.I.20.

4. The square was known as the "President's Park" until 1834, when the name "Lafayette Square" was adopted. Admin. Rec. at I.I.20. Since 1933, when control of the National Capital Parks was returned to the Interior Department, the term "Lafayette Park" has been the preferred name and has been adhered to by the National Park Service. Id.

2. Aesthetic Interests in Lafayette Park

5. Five memorial statues, specifically authorized by legislation of Congress, honoring General Andrew Jackson and four foreign heroes of the American Revolution, are in place in Lafayette Park. Admin. Rec. at I.I.42-52. The equestrian statue of General Andrew Jackson, the second one of its type to be cast

2

in the United States, stands in the center of the Park. Id. It was dedicated by Senator Stephen A. Douglas in 1853. Id. The heroic bronze statue of General Lafayette, which stands at the southeast corner of the Park, was dedicated in 1891. Id. The second Frenchman honored in the Park is the Comte de Rochambeau, who led the French Expeditionary Force to America during the Revolution. Id. President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated the Rochambeau statue, which stands at the southwest corner of the Park, in 1902. Id. The statue of General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the Polish engineer who designed some of America's fortifications during the Revolutionary War, was dedicated in 1910 and stands at the northeast corner of the Park. Id. The fifth statue, dedicated by President William Howard Taft in 1910, is that of Baron von Steuben, the Prussian disciplinarian and Inspector General of the Continental Army. Id. It stands at the northwest corner of the Park. Id.

6. In addition, Lafayette Park functions as a formal garden park of meticulous landscaping with flowers, trees, fountains, walks and benches. Admin. Rec. at I.I.30-41. This aesthetic aspect goes back over 130 years. Id. In 1851, President Millard Fillmore endorsed the appointment of A. J. Downing, one of the most celebrated landscape architects of the day, to prepare plans for the landscaping of Lafayette Square and other park areas of the Nation's Capital. Admin. Rec. at I.I.26. Downing is credited with the landscape plan of Lafayette Park, which has generally been adhered to over the years with only slight

3

revisions. Id. The central theme then consisted of wide gravel paths leading to the statute of General Andrew Jackson as smaller meandering walks went past beds of roses and other flowers. Id.

7. second major change to take place in the landscaping of Lafayette Park was undertaken by the National Capital Parks in 1936 and 1937. Admin. Rec. at I.I.54-63. The overall changes made during this period were the removal of the bronze urns to their present-day locations, the redesigning and widening of the walks, the relocation of trees and shrubbery, the closing of small gravel paths and the relocation of flower beds. Id. The overall effect enhanced the beauty of the original Downing plan and made the Park more accessible to visitors and Washington residents. Id.

8. Money was appropriated by Congress during the Presidency of John F. Kennedy for the purpose of installing decorative fountains in the Park. Admin. Rec. at I.I.54-63. By 1969, a water sprinkler system for maintenance of the park, as well as attractive interior brick walkways, were added to Lafayette Park. Id. Improvements to the Park continue up to the present day. Prop. Rule, 50 FR at 33572; Admin. Rec. at TI.B.2. A new Park lighting system; historically accurate to the lamps used in the mid 1800's, was installed in 1985. Id.

9. The American Society of Landscape Architects (hereinafter "ASLA") pointed out that "Lafayette Park has long been a major component in the historic setting of the White House, and is of critical importance in its context with the City of Washington." Admin. Rec. at III.A.1.22. The ASLA further

4

stated that "The perk is a key experience to visitors to Washington from around the world, as well as a daily experience for many local residents." Id.

10. The National Capital Planning Commission (hereinafter "NCPC") has stated that:
''Few, if any, sites in the Nation are more important than Lafayette Park in contributing to the setting and aesthetic quality of our principal national symbols and memorials. As a critical integral part of the setting of the White House, the internationally recognized symbol of the Executive Branch of our government, Lafayette Park is literally the 'front door' of that setting, serving as the first introduction into the White House precinct for visitors who enter the area from the north. The protection and enhancement of the aesthetic quality of such a vital part of the setting of the White House deserves special concern and attention. As the setting for the five memorial statues honoring General Andrew Jackson and four foreign heroes of the American Revolution; Lafayette Park has additional real and symbolic importance, and the protection of the aesthetic quality of the setting of these memorials is also a matter of important Federal interest."

Admin. Rec. at III.A.2.26. The NCPC is the central planning agency for the Federal Government in the National Capital Region and has as its purpose the securing of comprehensive planning for the physical development of the National Capital. Admin. Rec. at III.A.2.24.

11. The NCPC also pointed out that Lafayette Park has been designated as a "Monumental and Decorative Park" and as such the following policies should be applied to it:
Monumental and Decorative Parks ... should serve as settings to enhance public buildings, monuments and memorials; as such, their fundamental integrity should be

5

protected. Additionally, they should serve as outdoor areas for displays and cultural activities, as well as areas for passive and controlled active recreational activities, including lunch time picnics and gatherings.

Admin. Rec. at III.A.2.25.

12. Henry Berliner, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation pointed out that "it would seem particularly unproductive and regrettable in attempting to maintain the vista between the United States Capitol and The White House if that vista were maintained from the Capitol to 15th Street, but not beyond." Admin. Rec. III.A.1.78.

3. Public Use of Lafayette Park

13. Lafayette Park attracts a significant number of visitors each year. In 1984, Over thirty-thousand People visited the-Park. Admin. Rec. at I.H.3. In the first six months of 1985, almost seventeen-thousand People visited the Park. Id.

14. Specifically separated from the President's House by President Jefferson for use by local residents and visitors, the park is extensively used for passive recreational activities such as viewing the White House, reading, eating picnic lunches, and playing checkers or chess. Admin. Rec. at III.A.2.26.

15. Members of the public frequently express their appreciation for Lafayette Park and their desire to retain the aesthetic quality of the Park. See generally, Admin. Rec. at I.A.1-43, III.A.1-164; and III.A.2.1-138. For example, one man, commenting on the proposed regulations, wrote: "Lafayette Park along with A the White House and other beautiful buildings of Washington, D.C. are a credit to the beauty, freedom and honor of

6

this great nation. . . please keep Lafayette Park in its natural beauty for all people to enjoy." (Emphasis in original). Admin. Rec. at III.A.11.30. Another wrote as follows:

In 1975, the Park was a beautiful spot to enjoy for walkers or passerbys in a car. I would take friends and relatives from out of town to a White House public tour and exit through the Park - demonstrating that lovely green space for public use existed even in urban areas. Since I work out of my offices at 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., it is often necessary to go to the Downtown D.C. law firms or business offices of clients or associates, and I would walk through the Park as a pleasurable interlude to an otherwise hectic day. At noon, I would jog for exercise through the Park. In summary, the Park improved my quality of life and was a public treasure to be protected and enjoyed.

In 1985, the Park is a hostile assault on the senses, dirty, and showing gross wear and tear from members of the public too irresponsible to share a common resource without destroying it.

* * *

I implore the Park Service to act quickly, but reasonably, to clean up this national disgrace.
Admin. Rec. at III.A.1.151-153.

16. A common view expressed by members of the public is that Lafayette Park belongs to, and should be enjoyed by, all citizens. For example, one individual, commenting on the proposed regulations, wrote "We citizens of Washington feel we have a right to enjoy our parks uncluttered by crude structures and signs of any kind, whoever places them there." (Emphasis in the original). Admin. Rec. at III.k.1.74. Another person wrote "National Parks are my parks, too - and I enjoy the trees and

7

grass and nature." (Emphasis in original). Admin. Rec. at

Another individual stated:
Public parks are meant to be enjoyed by all the people without deference to the individual excesses of a pathetic few. Because tax dollars allow for the creation and support of these precious places for the relaxation and general enjoyment of the public, it is in the Federal interest to protect them on behalf of all taxpayers and guests to our country.
Admin. Rec. at III.A.2.88.

17. Many individuals have pointed out that Lafayette Park and other public areas are important sites for visitors to Washington. One man wrote "Washington, D.C. is in many ways our nation's showcase for visitors from other countries." Admin. Rec. at III.A.1.44. A travel professional wrote that "Travel, especially to our beautiful monuments, constitute the largest business in our area, larger even than government" Admin. Rec. at III.A.1.33.

18. In an effort to retain the historic and aesthetic quality of the Park, the National Park Service prohibits active recreational activities, such as softball and hockey, and special events in Lafayette Park. See, 36 C.F.R. 50.19(c)(l).

19. Lafayette Park has also historically served as a site for First Amendment Activities such as leafletting, making speeches and carrying signs. Lafayette Park Final Rulemaking, 51 FR 7556 (hereinafter Final Rule, 51 FR "); See also, Admin. Rec. at III.A.3.64 and 77. Demonstrations have included Iranian protesters, suffragettes and anti-war advocates. Admin. Rec. at I.B.28-29; III.A.3.77.

8

4. Current Situation in Lafayette Park

20. Over the past 170 years, Lafayette Park has become increasingly dominated by large, semi-permanent, bill-board type signs and massive structures. Prop. Rule, 50 FR at 33572; Admin. Rec. at II.B.2 and at I.J.30, 32, 36, 39, 41, 51, 53, 55, 95, 131, 136-137, 143, 167, 202, 207, 212, 214-220, 227, 243, 249, and 253.

21. It has not been uncommon to have signs as large as twenty-five feet by twelve feet in the Park at any one time. Admin. Rec. at I.D.79 and 88. In addition, it has not been uncommon to have structures ten feet high, eight feet long and four feet wide in the Park for long periods of time. Admin. Res. at I.D.6. Further, while the number of signs and structures increases and decreases as demonstrators come and go in the Park, there has generally been a large number of such materials in the Park at the same time. Admin. Rec. at I.D.63. In August of 1984, for example, there were one hundred and forty signs in Lafayette Park on a continuing basis. Admin. Rec. at I.D.6. Eighty of the signs present in the Park in August of 1984 belong to one demonstrator. Admin. Rec. at I.D.84.

22. Over the past two years, two to six demonstrators have accounted for a vast majority of the signs and structures that continuously occupy a large portion of Lafayette Park. For example, on September 4, 1984, there were sixty-seven signs, one doghouse, one bookcase, many piles and boxes of assorted materials, numerous plastic garbage bags, a beer keg and a metal cart in Lafayette Park. At the same time, there were four

9

demonstrators. Admin. Rec. at I.D.61. At approximately the same time, there were nine unoccupied tents in another part of the Park with two demonstrators present. Admin. Rec. at I.D.66.

23. In July of 1985, there were seventy-seven signs in Lafayette Park, ranging in size from two feet by three feet to a sign eight feet by twenty-four feet. Admin. Rec. at I.F.1-39. There were three signs that measured twelve feet by fifteen feet and thirteen signs that were at least eight feet wide. Id. One of these signs indicated that thirty-three of the total number of signs belonged to two persons who had been in the Park since June of 1981. Admin. Rec. I.F.4. In addition to signs, there were various structures in the Park, including, chairs, a grocery cart, desks, parking cones and a ladder. Admin. Rec. at I.F.7-39

24. During the past two years, individuals have brought a large number and variety of structures into the Park. See generally, Admin. Rec. at I.J.1-254. For example, several two and three story structures have been built in Lafayette Park. Admin. Rec. at I.J.2, 89, 100, 108, 112, 136-137, 143, 163, 207, 232, and 253. Desks, chairs, bookcases, carts, doors, podiums, tents, and a porcelain toilet have all appeared in the Park. Admin. Rec. at I.D.17 and 19; I.J.30, 36, 38, 40, 53, 55, 56, 58, 67, 69, 78, 85, 86, 88, 92, 103, 104, 121-122, 150, 159-161, 200, and 235. One individual filled a broken grocery cart with trash, stating that it was a symbolic structure. Admin. Rec. at I.D.72 and 117. The presence of these items have often created a dump- like appearance in the Park. Admin. Rec. at I.J.56-60, 67, 72,

10

102-104, 114, 127, 132, 133, ?51, 177, 200, 235, and 247. Demonstrators have requested permits for increasing numbers and types of structures, for example, facilities for a live abortion and birth. Admin. Rec. at I,C.69 and I.C.73; see generally, Admin. Rec. at I.C.1-142.

25. On many occasions, these signs and structures are left unattended in Lafayette Park. Admin. Rec. at I.D.12, 14, 16, 25-29 and 67.

26. The presence of these numerous large signs and varied structures has created problems in Lafayette Park. Primarily, they have diminished the aesthetic quality of the Park for many people. Admin. Rec. at I.J.1 - 254. For example, one individual wrote "All too frequently when I am showing visitors from out of town around Washington, I cringe when I drive past the White House because I am embarrassed by the disgusting display in Lafayette Park." Admin. Rec/ at III.A.1.39. Another wrote "How often have I taken many of my foreign friends, whom I have met from years of travel abroad, by the White House, only to have them look in disbelief at the many huge, grotesque painted signs." Admin. Rec. at III.A.1.44. Another individual said "Current regulations, or lack thereof, have led to deterioration in both the physical/environmental integrity of the park, and in Its aesthetic qualities . " Admin. Rec. at III.A1.50 In addition, officers of the United States Park Police assigned to Lafayette Park have received many complaints from visitors. See, for example, Admin. Rec, at I.D.61, 65-66, 73, 79-80, 82 and 90.

11

27. The large signs and structures have often preempted the use of large portions of Lafayette Park and obstructed the view of the White House from the park. Admin. Rec. at I.5.30, 32, 36, 39, 41, 49, 51-60, 67, 74-77, 88, 90, 95, 103, 112, 114, 131-33, 137, 152, 159, 187, 200, 202, 207, 212, 214, 216-220, 239, 241, 242, 244, 249, and 254. One demonstrator has had up to eight billboard-type signs, along with various smaller signs, lined up on the south sidewalk of the Park for long periods of time. Admin. Rec. at I.5.32, 41, 95, 212, 214, and 216-220. This individual, along with one other demonstrator, has occupied almost half of the length of the south sidewalk of the Park, substantially interfering with the view of the White House from Lafayette Park. Id.


Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park