Today's local, almost daily Times-Standard newspaper offers the headline "County staff researching public assemblage ordinance". It seems that allowing for the public to exercise their free speech rights and rights to assemble without being restricted in many ways goes against the county board of supervisors and local law enforcement. They have already made sleeping in any public place illegal. Now they want to put restrictions on how people may assemble for a redress of grievances. The county is attempting to define when one can protest and want's to use permits to regulate any gatherings or protests on public property. The permit may require that any protest taking place purchase an insurance policy. This would restrict the free speech rights of those without the means for insurance due to financial reasons.
If you believe that the 1st amendment of the US Constitution allows for such restrictions on the people to peacefully assemble only if they can afford to, you have never read the Constitution. The Constitution restricts what the government can do, not the other way around.
So where am I going with this? There will be a forum on this very subject for some of these same reasons, March 24th from 1 to 4 pm at the Eureka Women's Club at 1531 J. Street in Eureka Ca. 95501
This event is free to attend although donations are welcome to help pay for the room and insurance. Everyone is invited.
Bit-by-bit, piece-by-piece, our precious civil liberties are being whittled away:
•Warrantless Wiretapping • USA PATRIOT Act • National Security Entry/Exit Registration System (NSEERS) • Real ID Act, Military Commissions Act • No Fly and Selectee lists • Abuse of Material Witness Statute • National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) • Attacks on academic freedom • Monitoring of peaceful groups • Militarization of our police by the Department of Homeland Security • Coordinated nationwide crackdown on Occupy protests • Unrestrained excesses of local law enforcement • HR 347 • and much, much more.
Although at times these changes have been almost imperceptible, the bottom line is that taken as a whole, they put some of our most cherished freedoms in jeopardy. The cumulative effects of these actions has resulted in an America very different than the one we experienced a decade ago.
And now, here in Humboldt County, we are threatened with another assault on our First Amendment protections of freedom of speech, assembly, and the right to petition our government for redress of grievances. A new County protest ordinance is currently under development, which, if left unchallenged, will further restrict and criminalize our basic freedoms.
Thus it is urgent that we form a broad coalition of local organizations and individuals who rely upon the First Amendment, and we need you to join us to stand up and shout out: enough!
Stand Up & Shout Out! -- A Forum to Protect and Restore our First Amendments Rights, which will be held on March 24, is an important first step. This forum will begin with informational presentations by local experts and activists, followed by public testimony from those most affected by civil liberties restrictions, and will conclude an opportunity to work with your friends and neighbors to begin taking concrete actions to protect our precious freedoms.