Location, Location, Location

But the question of whether the city had given away a public area, and the question of whether the city's permitting process is fair, and the question of whether the Rockies are so greedy that they will fight over every inch of economic turf--these were not questions that were going to be answered in this courtroom. The three jurors, one wearing a Rockies hat, deliberated about an hour before coming back with a guilty verdict. "They just couldn't get around the fact that he was blocking the right-of-way," says Jones's attorney, Michael O'Malley.

Lately O'Malley has been spending a lot of time on public rights-of-way; last month the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of another of his clients, one of two publishers who'd been prohibited from distributing their publications within that enhanced enforcement zone. "We find," the court declared, "that the ability of the Rockies to generate revenue in these disputed areas is not more significant than that of the publishers."

But then, the publishers were pushing the First Amendment as well as free enterprise.

Unlike the Rockies, who'd appealed that issue to the Supreme Court, Jones doesn't plan to fight Tuesday's verdict. Not in court, anyway. He's going to reinvigorate the peddlers' association he started this spring, and he's going to work to change the law. If he could win over the state legislature, how hard could it be to fight City Hall--and win?

"People avoid obstructions," says Gordon Brown, the architect who testified on Jones's behalf. "It's very simple. It's the law of least effort."

And that, too, is a rule that Leroy Jones does not observe.
He is not willing to go with the flow. "I'm just tired of having to fight the city for my rights, the government for my rights," he says. "The city extends its power to such a degree that it imprisons people's economic activity.

"Are we free, or are we not free? And if we are free, then get out of our lives until we get in the way of the public good."

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