Saturday, March 10, 2012

County Attempts To Restrict Free Speech Rights

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.

3 comments:

  1. "Henchman Of Justiuce" says,

    An honest elected official would say this: the ordinance has no application with an intended effect when there exists no organization to plan any free speech rally. Individuals who just show-up on their own merits that results in a lot of people IS NOT AN ASSEMBLY - AN ASSEMBLY requires a structure of leadership for a designated time and place event, for starters. County Counsel is gonna get heat on this too it appears.

    Sorry supes, drop-in protesting that adds-up to a lot of people is fully constitutional. Now, what is fair is when protests BLOCK or RESTRICT the ingress and egress of non-protesters simply trying to use a public improvement like a road or sidewalk. As long as mobility issues for non-protesters IS NOT an issue via PROOF, local elected officials should just keep their noses clean on civil rights issues.... I would think supervisors understand the difference of constitutionally protected free speech versus violating a person's free speech rights.

    Let's not get all Water Reclamationary like the Native Indigenous peoples had to deal with a century ago with their constitutional rights for free speech when they were being violated as a culture and not allowed to respond in so many instances - I'd think Mr. Sundberg would understand this history too being that he is a native indigenous community member. I hope he speaks against this boondoggled idea.

    HOJ

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  2. I don't have a problem with people standing outside the courthouse protesting and holding signs as long as pedestrian access is not blocked. I do however have a HUGE problem with people setting up lawn chairs and hanging signs, and I would gladly contribute to defend the county in any lawsuit arising from these career protestors being removed for trampling on the rights of the rest of us.

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  3. So Anonymous 4:03 pm, you seem to be ok with the right to protest in the US constitution so long as the person protesting has legs or can float from a balloon? Strange caveat. I don't recall a no chair statute when assembling to petition the government for a redress of grievances. What makes you think chairs should be made illegal?

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US Senator Joe Liberman, WTC 7 Did Not Occur