Bizarre Bazaar

Man can whistle, but he must keep moving

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Maine man charged with disorderly conduct for his loud whistling in downtown Portland has reached a deal with the city - he can whistle, but he can't linger in one spot.

Robert Smith, of Westbrook, has been cited by police twice in the past year after businesses complained. He pleaded guilty last summer and reached a deal with the city in which he can keep whistling as long as he's moving.

Smith tells a local newspaper that his whistling - audible a block away - is protected free speech and usually brings smiles.

City officials dispute the free speech argument.

Janis Beitzer, of the Portland Downtown District, understands why some business owners are upset with the whistling. She calls it "irritating," like playing a radio too loud.

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