July 15, 2009

Free Speech and the Fourth of July in Florida

Carroll Andrew Morse

In yet another blow to the nascent movement by local officials from Rhode Island to Florida to regulate freedom of speech and freedom of the press at Fourth of July celebrations, city officials of Port St. Lucie, Florida have apologized to members of the Treasure Coast Tea Party (h/t Instapundit)…

"It was not our intent to interfere or cast dispersions on the tea party," said City Manager Don Cooper, who took responsibility for what he called a "bone-head decision."
According to an editorial in Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers online, the apology was offered regarding the City's requirement that tea party members set up their booth in a separate section from other booths present at the parade, in a section behind a disclaimer sign…
At the Fourth of July festival at the city's Civic Center, officials segregated the anti-tax group Treasure Coast Tea Party and a church from commercial vendors and exhibitors in what the city termed "Section B," an area in which some might find the views expressed by such groups as offensive....The city erected a sign at Section B stating that the city does not "endorse, support or condone" the views expressed by groups in that area, with the implication that the city opposes such views.

Going further, the sign added, "We are required to make this space available to avoid the cost of litigation." implying, again, that the city would rather not allow such views to be expressed.

This should provide a heads-up to officials in Bristol for next year; telling people that Constitutions may be passed out to the public, but only if it's done in officially sanctioned areas, probably won't work as a compromise.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

"...telling people that Constitutions may be passed out to the public, but only if it's done in officially sanctioned areas, probably won't work as a compromise."

That's a crock. The 1st Amendment doesn't give you the right to shout fire in a crowded movie house, and it doesn't give anyone the right to pass out marketing material in the middle of a parade.

Plus, who needs to "compromise" with groups that refuse to follow the parade rules? Either the Tea Party complies with the rules assuming the parade decides to let them back in at all, or they don't. If that's not good enough, organize your own parade. It's a free country.

Posted by: Russ at July 15, 2009 12:59 PM

So are you endorsing the creation of free-speech zones at next years 4th of July parade in Bristol?

Posted by: Andrew at July 15, 2009 1:14 PM

Endorsing that? No. I don't see any reason to turn the 4th of July into a marketing event for the Heritage Foundation. I only wish you righties showed half the concern about protecting actual dissent as you do about railing against these imagined threats to the 1st Amendment.

Posted by: Russ at July 15, 2009 3:44 PM

Comrade Russ,
What is your payoff for regurgitating ill-informed falsities as fact? First of all NO ONE has the authority to stop anyone from passing out anything at anytime providing it's not on private property. Second, the Tea Party broke no rules. Then you end your propagandistic tirade with "It's a free country."

Posted by: bobc at July 15, 2009 3:48 PM

Hey, I was there and saw what I saw. Unsupported assertions to the contrary (especially coupled with personal attacks) aren't so convincing.

Posted by: Russ at July 15, 2009 4:00 PM

Hey, I was there too. I saw it all up close and persnal. Seems like you have a habit of accusing others of things that did not happen. Where did I attack you? BTW you really should check out the press release that the Parade Committee put out today. The Chair of the Committee states it has NOT been determined that the Tea Party float was passing out anything. So maybe you should now direct your hatred toward them.

Posted by: bobc at July 15, 2009 5:16 PM

Oh, I didn't realize that referring to me as "commrade," suggesting I'm on the take, and characterizing my opinions as a "propagandistic tirade" were meant as flattery. My bad!

Interesting new spin to add to the list: the handouts weren't solicitations (false), those doing it weren't associated with the parade group (false), and the newest spin... well, none of that came directly off the float. Umm, the parade rules still prohibit "soliciting along the parade route" and "distributions or fundraising by any float applicant", so we're essentially back to spin #1?

Posted by: Russ at July 15, 2009 6:25 PM

Wow, do you have issues. First Comrade is a term of endearment...1. A person who shares one's interests or activities; a friend or companion.
We share the same interest of posting comments.
Suggesting that you are on the take!? Sounds like a guilty conscience talking.
What is your payoff simply asks what are you getting out of attacking the Tea Party.
Lastly your comments are a propagandistic tirade for they contain not a single modicum of truth but if you want to be the only one right in a world that is wrong that's your right, though no one, not even the parade committee feels as you do. But the one thing we agree on is that it's a free country.

Posted by: bobc at July 16, 2009 9:29 AM

I've tried to keep this about the issues. If all you've got in response is personal vitriol, we're done.

"Slanderers I have thought it best to leave to the scourge of public opinion."
Thomas Jefferson, To De Witt Clinton, 1807

Posted by: Russ at July 16, 2009 12:17 PM

Spoken like a true man that has no argument.
"Unsupported assertions to the contrary" your words ring hollow. It is you that is asseerting that others have broken the rules. Then you finally admit that it is your opinion. Opinion has no place in accusation.

Posted by: bobc514 at July 16, 2009 12:46 PM
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