San Luis Obispo County accused of attempting to restrict free speech

July 23, 2012

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors are set to consider a draft ordinance on Tuesday that both conservative and liberal groups have dubbed an unconstitutional attempt by the county to squelch free speech and limit a person’s right to assemble.

“No person, group, or organization shall make use of County facilities or vacant land for public gatherings, meetings, conferences, rallies, assemblies or other similar purposes, without first having obtained a permit therefore and at rates established in the fee schedule adopted by the Board of Supervisors,” the draft ordinance says. “The provisions of this section shall not apply to meetings of public agencies and officials or County employees in the performance of the duties of their office or employment.”

Jim Griffen, a member of Occupy San Luis Obispo, contends this ordinance is but another example of the chipping away of the rights and freedoms of Americans under the guise of homeland security.

“The upcoming vote by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on an ordinance to ban the practice of normal civil liberties on county ‘property’ is a slap in the face to all those who value freedom of expression and democratic rights,” Griffen said.  “All progressive and liberties conscious people, movements and organizations must ban together to fight and defeat this attack on the Constitutional rights of all of us — in the courts, in the halls of government and in the streets.”

Failure to abide by the proposed ordinance is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the San Luis Obispo County Jail for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than $500 or by both.

In addition, the proposed ordinance would ban people from distributing handbills that solicit donations at county facilities or vacant land.

“No person shall distribute, circulate, give away, throw, or deposit on the ground, post or affix to any tree, fence, or structure situated at any County facility or on vacant land, any handbills, circulars, pamphlets, papers, notices, or advertisements, which material calls the public attention in any way to any article or service for sale or hire, nor shall any person solicit or collect donations of money or other goods from the public at any County facility or on vacant land, without a permit issued by the Director or designee,” the ordinance says.

The Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (COLAB) has serious concerns about the constitutionality of the ordinance, said Mike Brown, COLAB’s governmental affairs director.

“Does this mean that the North County Patriots Tea Party cannot solicit donations at a rally on the Courthouse lawn without a permit issued by the General Services Director? How about  the Board of Realtors, the San Luis Obispo Cattle Women’s Art Show, the NAACP, the Navy League, or CAL Poly ROTC, etc.? What if the matter is urgent, sudden, and compelling? What if there is not time to get a permit? What if the General Services Director and CAO don’t like the organization or their flyer?, “ Brown said in a COLAB weekly update.

On Tuesday, the proposed ordinance is the first item on the agenda to be discussed at the 9 a.m. SLO County Board of Supervisors’ meeting.


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danika

Do we even recognize our city, county and state anymore? I’m not gonna speak to the Fed gov’t…


Slowerfaster

Oh , you wouldn’t.,What a fricckin COWARD . Typical low-life Republican !


TypoKing

“No person, group, or organization shall make use of County facilities or vacant land for public gatherings, meetings, conferences, rallies, assemblies or other similar purposes, without first having obtained a permit therefore and at rates established in the fee schedule adopted by the Board of Supervisors,” the draft ordinance says.


It states no PERSON….. that means it can apply to just ONE PERSON!


The flood gates of diminishing civil and constitutional rights are ever increasing as the government on all levels, zealously seeks to gain more and more control while taking more and more taxes, fees or whatever you want to call it, from the very people who pay their salary!


And this ordinance is so very open to SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT of the law…. a ‘good old boy’ policy that is so common in government.


R.Hodin

Two points left out of the article:


1) the proposed ordinance is being introduced (with a hearing schedule) as part of the consent agenda, and is not up for discussion, so it appears that there is not a separate public comment period. If that is the case, then comments will need to be made during the general public comment period, which follows the consent agenda. One supervisor can pull the item for discussion prior to adoption of the consent agenda, and that will open a separate public comment period.


2) the hearing date for the proposed ordinance is August 21, 2012, according to the county documents(available online).


If enough people request the item to be pulled for discussion (including being tossed in the trash) AHEAD of tomorrow’s meeting, that would probably send the strongest message.


Caveat,


Slowerfaster

Russ, when ultra conservatives and someone like myself that is to the left of Trotsky and Noam Chomsky agree…we’re probably correct !


As usual, politicians seek to satisfy the dull-witted middle, of apolitical dullards that still wield the power of their vote. …no matter how full of bat poop their disconnected self soothing answers are..


We are done as a society. as a civilization, as a country, as a Republic that we NEVER were …despite Franklin’s wish.


Better to kill all the perverts ( political ) and to start over ! They’re already dead and don’t know it !


oh ., I almost forgot : A pig fell in the mud ! Dirty joke !


( If you don’t make them laugh, they will kill you ! Oscar Wilde )


Kevin Rice

Comment will be heard BEFORE the consent agenda. Get there at 9!


The Brown Act requires comment to be taken BEFORE OR DURING consideration of an item. Because general comment comes after consent, they must hear comment on the consent agenda.


GET THERE EARLY. Fill out a comment card and specify item 1.


HarryMalone

Good Point SLO Rider,


Everyone needs to know if they want to speak in the very limited capacity they have; they still must abide by a myriad of confusing and frustrating decorum rules to be even be able to speak.


Thanks SLORIDER for making that point aware.


R.Hodin

Thanks for clarifying, I was going by the published agenda. Hence the “Caveat”


MikeB

In Reference: Introduction of a proposed ordinance amending Title 2, Chapter 2.11 of the County Code to establish provisions regulating the use of facilities and vacant land that are owned or operated by the County. Hearing date set for August 21, 2012. All Districts.


Gentleman:


I am at a loss to understand the rationale behind the proposed ordinance reference above.


Having read the language in the proposed ordinance, I perceive very obvious conflicts with the United States Constitution and the California State Constitution.


I also noticed that certain prohibited behaviors indicated in the proposed ordinance already exist in the California Penal Code.


If this ordinance was spurred by the overnight camping on the courthouse lawn which occurred several months ago then it appears you are trying swat a gnat with a machete.


It seems that an overnight camping ordinance could be crafted without going overboard and suppressing and intimidating the public’s right to free speech and assemblage.


I will add that by incorporating a permit process and fee structure to public assemblage and speech you also invite law suits. Such action would, in my opinion, be akin to rubbing salt in a public wound.


If my memory serves me correctly, didn’t some of you host public assemblage to announce your candidacy for political office. If for example, you were to do that on a weekend, when the courthouse was closed, would such behavior be considered unlawful under the proposed ordinance?


This is a half baked idea and I can’t imagine who among you, would support it.


Respectfully submitted for the record.


Mike Brennler

Atascadero


R.Hodin

From my reading, the language seemed downright sloppy at times. Careless, reckless, overreaching.


racket

What? are you saying Adam wrote it? ;)


deecoast

Over-reaching – to the point of unconstitutional. Besides, it’s stupid. This means the Girl Scouts can’t sell their cookies on any county land – including a park, or sidewalk – without paying a permit “fee”. Poor sick Uncle Joe’s family can’t hold a BBQ to pass the hat to pay for his rising medical costs – without paying the county to assemble at the park they already pay for. And little 3 yr old Joe Jr. will definitely get arrested if the “County Park Police” catch him urinating behind a tree!

This is plain stupid. In a desperate attempt to not only control our behavior and tax us for everything we do, this “progressive” group is trying to unhinge the Constitution. This arrogant behavior is not that of people who work and serve the people, but intend to be “benevolent” dictators – somehow protecting us from ourselves – the first step to complete tyranny.

This is happening in communities across the U.S. and throughout our federal government. At least we can stop it here.


The Gimlet Eye

As in this case (of course, it helps if you have friends in high places):


Kids selling lemonade fined $500 for not having permit on Thursday are allowed to sell again on Friday


Kids in Maryland were fined $500 for selling lemonade Thursday when a county inspector cited them for not having a permit. One of the parents is concerned that government has grown too large.


The location was unusual and the children were not from your typical family, which is why they were fined and perhaps why the fine was later revoked.


The cute little blond-haired kids were selling lemonade near the entrance to the golf club hosting the U.S Open tournament. The event is so popular that entrepreneurial families in the neighborhood have paid $300 for permits so they can have the pleasure of charging upwards of $60 a vehicle for visitors to park in their lush and spacious lawns.


The kids, who intended for the proceeds to go to charity, had no permits, so they were fined.


But two things happened. First the news was captured by journalists who quoted one of the mothers arguing with the inspector and finally telling the camera, “The message to kids is, there’s no American dream.”


The other thing that happened was it was discovered that the children were part of two D.C. power families: the Marriotts, known for the hotel chain, and the Augustines. Norman Augustine is the former head of Lockheed-Martin.


Call it coincidental, but according to WUSA in Washington, D.C., county permits director Jennifer Hughes on Friday waived the fine and instructed the families that if they moved their children’s stand 100 feet from where they were originally, all would be well.


Although the matter is resolved, one of the mothers, Rene Augustine, complained: “This feels like a whole lot of government to me,” WUSA reported.


http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2011/06/kids-selling-lemonade-fined-500-for-not-having-permit.html


studioclubnews

With this they can kill the arts, creative gatherings, keep people locked in a box…does anybody know the political affiliation of each of them…this is such a sleezy way of cutting off the arts, music, gathering…the stupid dupes that don’t want more government are creating a government itself just to more and more control people…or, what do they call it…they do all look very let’s say “right wing” to me…


Slowerfaster

Got it.


Fascism by another name is just …uhhh …FASCISM !


The Gimlet Eye

Just another little step in the advancement of the police state.


cheseburger

Here’s a step allegedly taken 18 years ago by an X-county supervisor


Anybody know the ties between Charlie Moore (X-county supervisor for SLO) and Kelly V. Gearhart, this is truth very recently Charlie told me Kelly Gearhart had lung cancer, (HOW WOULD HE HAVE THIS INFORMATION?), I was buying a car from his friend Becky Devv, since I didn’t seem sympathetic to Gearhartless they backed out of the deal and put the car back up for-sale again, when confronted by me she called the cops, who agreed she had a screw loose, the next day Charlie and Becky chased my 7 year old daughter across and out of a vacant lot traumatizing her, they called the cops again. claiming our daughter had vandalized her car and the sheriffs handling of this was absolutely incredible, the officer came back an hour later, with permission from me to do so and he, (GOD BLESS HIM) went out and bought my daughter the cutest little pink stuffed pig toy, (not cheap), of all time!!! And stickers! Our sincere thanks to him! Oh one more thing either she gave a fake name to the sheriffs or has two Yvette Ross, somebody run her jacket and see what you come up with!


Go back to the Gearhart article it get’s hot and sweaty, really check it, why would Charlie loose it and chase a seven year old girl, answer because the word is that girls car was allegedly his own illegitimate daughter!


Want pics of him cooking a turkey for her, my wife bought a camera at the thrift store and low and behold a chip still in it, that would make it our purchased property, Charlies on there with his alleged daughter, and his alleged breast-implanted, ( volleyball size), chested alleged girl friend, she even called him her boy friend to my face and I don’t have to allege that!


centralcoastcoyote

Cheese put the pipe down seriously quit it you remind me of a dog that constantly licks its nuts…..


HarryMalone

priceless comment ccc!


cheseburger

Coyotes do too! And I would if I could reach them.


CA Native

Larry, Moe, Curly, Oliver and Hardy. 5 Buffoons.


Crusader

I was going to say “Five out-of-touch, arrogant, sleazy, fat, white males” but yours sounds better.


cheseburger

Yours is better,LOL! His Is GREAT!


Slowerfaster

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution includes “the right of the people peacably to assemble” along with the better known “freedom of speech” and “freedom of press” .


Are we in an open prison? Is everyone a slave or serf with no actual ‘rights’ ?


Who comes up with this nonsense ?


jms3211

Control freaks feed on this type of nonsense!


dante0182

We are living in the County of San Luis Obispo Police State, courtesy of the Board of Supervisors and the County staff.


topo

Not to go all tinfoily on folks, but this same type ordinance is showing up wherever there is or has been any presence of the occupy movement.-Just sayin’