Skip to comments.Texas town has some odd ideas about free speech
Posted on 03/05/2010 10:04:40 AM PST by SoonerStorm09
Lots of Texans waved political signs for candidates Tuesday.
Chris Howe was locked up for it.
In a story that sounds like something from behind the Iron Curtain, Watauga police jailed Howe, 29, for holding a campaign sign on public property.
He supported Debra Medina. But it wouldn't matter if he supported Kinky Friedman.
What matters is that an American city has put a man in jail for free speech.
Since 2000, Watauga has specifically outlawed political signs on public property. It's part of your typical city ordinance restricting garage-sale signs and other litter.
Somehow, police and city attorneys stretched that to arrest Howe for holding a sign.
Howe was jailed much of Tuesday. He could still be fined $150.
(Excerpt) Read more at star-telegram.com ...
Post your campaign signs on public land and see how long they last. Mayor Lee P. Brown was driving around in Houston one Sunday with a staff driver collecting the competitor’s campaign signs (he claims they were illegally posted). The issue came to light because he got into a car accident while doing this.
Interesting that the writer said Medina and then “it wouldn’t matter if” it was Kinky Friedman. Rick Perry would have been a more appropriate name for the comparison.
Pretty clear violation of 1. Amendment.
After the lawsuits,Chrid Howe SHOULD own that town.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Since the Constitution is a Living Document, the above words mean nothing.
“Adams has argued before that all signs are “ugly” and make Watauga “trashy-looking.”
He said he wouldn’t even let anyone wear a political T-shirt on public property.
Wow just wow!
Here in Washington state a person can be arrested for theft for doing what the “good” mayor was doing...
I think the city and Mr. Adams are in deep, expensive doo-doo.
Wow. Howe would be a good name for that city.
“Howe is already the name of a city in Texas”
Adam’s Folly would also be great.
It has that certain Texan ring to it.
I might agree with the ruling, with this understanding.
If I own a piece of property (even a “broadcast” or “media” property) it is not a denial of your FreeSpeech rights if I do not let you use my property for your message to the public. Equally, I can chose to allow my property to be used as your megaphone, if I want to.
If it is a “public right of way” - a sidewalk, roadway, bridge, etc., then anyone can go there and say, or post all the “FreeSpeech” they want.
But, if it is the land of a government entity itself, such posting could be construed as government endorsement of whatever the message advocated; and government (including government property) should not be in the business of offering itself as a megaphone for “FreeSpeech”, EXCEPT IN THE CONDUCT OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS, because the very heart of “FreeSpeech” is that it is NOT derived from the sanctuary of official government promotion.
That stretches it pretty dam thin.
I think your concern ignores my qualifier:
“EXCEPT IN THE CONDUCT OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS”, because if I am on government property for the purposes to which that property is established, and I am there for those purposes, I am free to say what I want, relative to those purposes; but I am not free to use that property for my own political purposes, outside of why that property exists.
The use of government property for pure political advocacy outside of the conduct of public activity to which that property functions, IS considered a wrongful GOVERNMENT ENDORSEMENT of said advocacy, not an act of “FreeSpeech”.
People are removed, rightly, all the time, in the U.S. Capitol building, on military bases, on state and federal property, on the property of the White House, within the Pentagon, on CIA property, when they wrongly believe that government property can supply their megaphone - it can’t; it amounts to government endorsement, government taking sides.
That does not mean that I cannot stand on the “public” right of way in front of a government building and say whatever I want; which, I believe, WAS NOT the manner of offense in question.