might be void of Nativity scenes for the first time in decades next winter.
Menorahs and posters advocating atheism would be banned, too, under a proposal to outlaw "winter displays" at the seaside park.
The First Amendment prohibits the city from picking and choosing which displays to allow, , according to Santa Monica City Attorney Marsha Jones Moutrie.
The new proposal was floated by the attorney's office in response to December protests by some religious leaders upset by a new lottery system used to determine which groups would get to erect displays at Palisades Park.
They petitioned the City Council to forever save 14 spots of the coveted real estate for the life-size Christmas dioramas after losing full access to the land for the first time in more than 50 years.
The city held a lottery for the first time in 2011 to determine assignment after receiving an unusually high number of requests to erect all sorts of displays.
The Nativity Scenes Committee's name was drawn only three times.
But Moutrie contends that the city can not save spots for any one organization just "because that display has become 'a tradition' or because the organizers are based in Santa Monica."
The Nativity Scenes Committee is a coalition of 13 churches and the Santa Monica Police Officers Association. Its members were bothered that those who walked away from the lottery with a majority of the spaces didn't actually end up using them.
"The Nativity Scenes Committee has no objection to displays anyone else puts up under the rules that disagree with ours ... That is the American way of free speech and fair play," Chairman Hunter Jameson told Patch in December. "The full Nativity Scenes only need one of the two blocks. There is plenty of room for the displays the atheists have put up this year, the Hanukkah menorah, and all 14 Nativity Scenes plus room left over."
Moutrie recommends that the City Council tell organizers to find private land on which to erect their displays instead.
Plus, "operating the lottery system is both time consuming and costly for the City and likely to become increasingly so because applicants have indicated they will 'flood' the lottery process," she continued.
Though displays of any kind on public parks are generally outlawed, the city has made exceptions for the winter ones since 2003.