Protect freedom of speech in San Luis Obispo County

June 5, 2023


This coming Tuesday, June 6, the SLO County Board of Supervisors will vote on a resolution “ condemning racism, bigotry, bias and hate speech in our community.” At first glance this seems like a no brainer to pass? But there are some real considerations that warrant addressing.

1. The resolution states intent to “cultivate an inclusive community” in our county. We are not aided in this endeavor by false flagging the entire community of Templeton as racist. Leave Templeton out of it.

Allow the overpass incident to serve as a catalyst for our county to adopt a resolution condemning racial supremacy of any kind, without further falsely labeling the community of Templeton. They have already sustained enough damage as a result of the incident.

As Supervisor John Peschong stated in a previous Board of Supervisor meeting, the ‘white pride’ sign holders were not from Templeton or even from our county for that matter.

2. The proposed resolution uses heated terms such as extreme, hate, racial, bias, diversity, equity, inclusion, etc. But it does not define any of these terms. If these terms are to be used in the labeling of individuals or acts that are to be condemned by our county then it is only fair that the county clearly define these terms within the resolution.

3. The board would be better served to adopt a resolution condemning all forms of supremacy based on race, gender, religion, or political ideology. Why not simplify the resolution to focus on a more all-inclusive concept of supremacy? Racism, bigotry, bias and hate speech are acts resulting from supremacy — supremacy is the root.

4. Rightfully so, speech considered hateful is contentious. It is also protected by the First Amendment and The Supreme Court. The right to free speech is what distinguishes our nation from all others and allows our nation to progress. It enables us to object to wrongdoing by our governing body and to lobby for course corrections within our system of government.

Do we really want to so directly condemn the First Amendment or would it be more accurate to condemn all forms of supremacy?

Sara Semes is a resident of Atascadero and a home school mom.

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The First Amendment does not protect against condemnation or other nonviolent reactions to hateful behavior or speech. We are all individually responsible for our words & actions.

The 1st Amendment is very clear that all speech is covered, that includes hate speech, so this entire thing is a non-starter no matter what you think about the banner. Once again, our taxpayer dollars are being wasted by people who apparently don’t understand the Constitution. There should be an inquiry regarding why taxpayer dollars are being wasted debating something clearly covered under the 1st Amendment.

Free speech is what makes this country great, and with few exceptions “fire in a crowded theater” or slander etc. You can say whatever you want. You would think our elected officials would know better.

There also appears to be an extreme double-standard developing here, where only one ethnic group is not allowed to be “proud” of their identity.

“Adopt a resolution condemning racial supremacy of any kind” So, that would mean that people who say endorse Black Pride, Asian Pacific Pride, or other racial versions of “pride” are in trouble too, or just white people?

When you see someone with a sign that state something you disagree with, just ignore it, and better yet you should think: “wow, we are so lucky to live in a free country where all speech is allowed and respected instead of an authoritarian dictatorship, even if I don’t agree with what is being said.”

This opinion is grotesque, and the majority of comments remind me why I left SLO and won’t come back until the racist old people and “Christian” fascists die out. You people are disgusting. You are twisting the simple act of condemning racism and hate speech and calling it devisive. Well, if you are racist or a Nazi, you should be divided. There is no place for, except for maybe a MAGA rally.

As Supervisor Peschong confirmed, the so-caled ‘white supremists’are from Tulare, Ca., and not representative of the Central Coast. It seems the mainstream media and some political groups delight in magnifying these incidents for political gain or clickbait.

I prefer to ignore all the pride displays and attempts to divide us.

“The proposed resolution uses heated terms such as extreme, hate, racial, bias, diversity, equity, inclusion, etc.”

Yep, wouldn’t want to use those “heated” words to describe Nazis. Neville Chamberlain would have never used those words during his negotiations.

The “F your feelings” crowd sure does seem a bit touchy, don’t they? These are the same that decried “cancel culture” and then boycott BudLight, Nascar, Target, Disney, . . . Just a bunch of delusional hypocrites.