Home > Uncategorized > First Amendment forum Saturday

First Amendment forum Saturday

On Saturday, March 24th, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, the Occupy Civil Liberties Working Group and fifteen co-sponsoring organizations will host a public meeting called “Stand Up & Shout Out! – A Forum to Protect & Restore our First Amendment Rights.”

The forum will be held at the Eureka Woman’s Club (1531 J Street, Eureka), and will highlight what organizers feel has been a decade of steady erosion of constitutionally guaranteed first amendment rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

“Bit-by-bit, piece-by-piece, during the last decade our precious civil liberties have been whittled away,” said working group member David Boyd. He noted a long list of government regulations which he said restrict and criminalize the right to protest. “Although these changes have at times been almost imperceptible, taken as a whole they put some of our most cherished freedoms in jeopardy,“ he added.

Forum organizers are especially troubled about what seems to be a coordinated nationwide crackdown on Occupy protests in recent months, and the militarization of

police departments by the Department of Homeland Security.

According to working group member Robin Donald, “the millionaires in Congress, towing the line for their corporate bosses, have gutted the Bill of Rights with their votes from the Patriot Act to the recently enacted H.R. 347, which makes free speech a felony. Now, the Humboldt County Supervisors want to further abridge our First Amendment rights.”

Donald was referring to a new Humboldt County protest ordinance which is currently under development. Many fear that, if left unchallenged, this ordinance will further reduce basic freedoms.

“I feel a sense of urgency about this,” stated forum organizer Nezzie Wade. “We need people to join us to stand up and shout out: enough!”

Janelle Egger, another forum organizer, sees the proposed County ordinance as a definite move in the wrong direction. “Through non-violent civil disobedience and meetings with the District Attorney, Occupy Eureka participants have successfully challenged the ban on posting signs, a traditional First Amendment activity. Now is the time for the County to revisit its restriction against any sort of weather protection, the reduced access to public toilets, and the restriction against Occupy-provided toilets. Now is not the time to talk about regulating future First Amendment use of the traditional public forum in front of the courthouse.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Richard Gilchrist, a member of Veterans for Peace Chapter 56, and his wife Gay, who is active in Women in Black. Through their respective organizations, both have made frequent use of the traditional protest area in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse to advocate for peace, and both are concerned that the proposed ordinance will place unnecessary restrictions on this activity.

As a first step in addressing these concerns, the working group is organizing the “Stand Up & Shout Out!” forum, which will include informational presentations by a panel of local experts and activists, followed by an opportunity to work with friends and neighbors to take concrete actions to protect and restore our precious freedoms.

Although the forum will start promptly at 1:00 PM, organizers are inviting the public to arrive at 12:30 PM for refreshments and informal networking.

Support for this effort has been tremendous, according to Boyd. “ We have formed a coalition of at least fifteen local organizations who share our desire to protect and restore our basic freedoms, and support is growing every day.”

###

  1. The Other 99%
    March 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Followed by a forum titled: “Sit Down and Shut Up!” A forum to protect and restore the rights of those opposed to the public nuisance created by those who occupy public space 24-hours per day for months on end with no end in sight.

    “A public nuisance is an interference with the common right of the general public or an indefinite number of persons; an unreasonable interference with the health, safety, peace, or comfort of the community.”

  2. High Finance
    March 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    The “Occupy” fools have not a clue as to how angry most Eurekans are.

    The front of our Courthouse is a trash dump and a disgrace.

  3. Anonymous
    March 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Come on Hi Fi,
    The courthouse is one of the ugliest buildings in town. A bad paint job, an industrial looking government building, and a jail all pushed together in our down town. Oh ya, and through in a dirt parking lot. It’s not really possible to make it look worse – except to add a chain link fence to protect 30 square feet of brown lawn. The occupy signs are about the only interesting thing the place has going.

  4. Anonymous
    March 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Err… “throw in”

  5. March 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I had jury duty a few weeks ago and never saw a protester. Hi Fi and the angry Eurekans might want to know that there is another entrance to Eureka’s ugliest building. It is just across the street from Court House Liquor on the other side of the behemoth we call the court house. Just cops, lawyers and jurists on that side. You still have to take off your belt and place it and all your other belongings into a plastic tub to be x-rayed and you yourself have to go through a metal detector and maybe take off your shoes if they are steel toed. Funny Hi Fi and others don’t seem to mind that intrusion into their lives. What’s that? You didn’t know anything about the other entrance? Are you admitting that you don’t show up for jury duty? I see what great citizens Hi Fi and others are talking about. How sad.

    I’d rather hang with the patriots on the other side of the building than with a bunch of non serving jurists that are more concerned with esthetics than substance. Yes even when I am on the other side of the building I am told by people like you when you drive by to get a job. I already have one but if you are offering, I know people that need work and since I am a public figure you can just reach out to me and let me know where all of those jobs are. Or you can make anonymous statements that mean nothing because there is no one on your side willing to back them up.

    Most of, if not all of the official complaints registered by people about the protesters have turned out to be people of questionable mental capacity or homeless people that are not actually Occupy Wall St. protesters at all. If some of you weren’t so superficial you might see what is really going on around you.

  6. David Boyd
    March 23, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    You nailed it Tom, Thanks.

    Also, if there are indeed real “health & safety” issues in front of the courthouse, why not provide appropriate health & safety type responses. Are there issues with sanitation? Why not allow Occupy (at their own expense, if necessary) to provide portable toilets on an emergency basis? Issues with mentally disturbed individuals? Provide mental health support. Why did it take over five months for any Mental Health assistance to show up at the site? Problems with people acting aggressively towards others? Use the laws already on the books to deal with that.

    Reading through the supporting documents to the proposed ordinance, it is clear that almost all of the noted problems were not with Occupy per se, but with the houseless and mentally challenged folks who find some safety and support among the Occupiers. Shutting down the Occupy protest will not resolve those issues, but will likely just disperse it to other parts of the city. Out-of-sight, and out-of mind is not an acceptable resolution.

    Rather than make new laws to further criminalize already distressed individuals, why not enlist the help of Occupy and others who obviously care about these issue to find creative and humane emergency solutions? I’ve heard plenty of talk on the street about creating an emergency human rights sanctuary to address these issues.

    This outdated notion that simply outlawing something is a “solution” is the reason why the US has about 5% of the world’s population, but about 25% of the incarcerated population, the highest rate of any country in the world.

    That statistic alone should suggest that our civil liberties are in jeopardy.

  7. Jack Sherman
    March 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Well put Tom.

    Simple truths are the first victim of petty tyrants like Heraldo’s resident sophist/coward “HiFi”. Using his idiotic “logic”, Eureka’s poor, destitute and PTSD homeless have the “right” not to be forced to look all day, every day, at people flaunting their wealth, jewelry, big cars, good teeth, fat bellies, and conspicuous consumption! For many hardworking families laid-off, foreclosed, bankrupted, and torn apart by uninsured common-illnesses, it’s increasingly uncomfortable and unpleasant to have to gaze upon a satisfied well-heeled minority who see NOTHING wrong with an imperial America divesting from its human resources.

    The persistence of the courthouse protesters is effectively reminding huge numbers of local citizens that tyranny is afoot.

    The ONLY reason everyone and their dog isn’t down there right now is because they are being bombarded by the most effective propaganda machine that human civilization has ever known. It’s ubiquitous mantra is, “a world of plenty for the deserving”.

    Even acclaimed, mainstream journalists like Bill Moyers are temporarily purged from public television, Phil Donahue and many others suffer similar fates. Small town good old boys ensure that local appointees, employees and politicians are like-minded. Ask tomorrow’s speaker Dan Faulk about right-wing executives at HSU and their nepotistic, favoritism shenanigans. A subject debated at risk of tenure.

    Despite hundreds of cable TV and radio stations, good luck finding daily counts of foreclosures, poverty, homelessness, bankruptcies, uninsured illnesses, school closures, teacher, police, and fireman layoffs, job exports, and on and on….

    You are not free to turn on your TV and watch this, and when things get bad enough, a nation’s internet service can be shutoff like a switch. China has already perfected it.

  8. What Now
    March 23, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    DAMN!
    Tom Sebourn knocked a grand slam over bthe lights, out of the park and right in to Highly Fried’s overly abused cheap press board wet bar.
    AWESOME, Mr. Sebourn.

  9. High Finance
    March 24, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Oh brother.

    Lucky for Eureka, you people are a tiny minority of Eurekans. Our town is looking like a trash dump and you don’t agree ? I would hate to see what your homes look like.

  10. Gil Yule
    March 24, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I share this concern that our 1st Amendment rights are being eroded. This latest notion that we now need permits to protest in direct opposition to what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution.

    I welcome this meeting and will be attending to see what others concerns are.

  11. March 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

    “…you people are a tiny minority of Eurekans.”

    You got any evidence for this, HiFi?

  12. Percy
    March 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Of course there is evidence for this Joel, it’s stored in a safe along with the jobs plans for the Brady Bunch.

  13. High Finance
    March 24, 2012 at 11:25 am

    The evidence Joel is last November.

    Your side lost big. But even many of those who voted for your candidates are sick of the bums in front of the Courthouse.

    Do you live in Eureka ?

  14. Anonymous
    March 24, 2012 at 11:39 am

    If the whole world goes to hell because the capitalist system picks our economic bones clean, goes into major crisis every 75 years, and then demands the taxpayers bail it out, who cares?

    Not Eurekans, who will ignore that mega-injustice completely and instead focus all our attention on the mentally-ill people at the courthouse who are powerless to improve their situation without help. And naturally, we will withhold that help, being the good Christian hypocrites that we are.

  15. Anonymous
    March 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Tome S., when you had jury duty you must have entered on the 4th street side every day and parked north of 4th St or ………… you’re a liar.

    Remember there is video tape !!

    And Joel, you’re back to you same old stuff. A smart idiot ?!

  16. Harold Knight
    March 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

    High Numskull still hasn’t got a clue that there’s another majority that does not participate in elections.

    That’s why most professional survey results, (like the Pew Center’s poll showing 40% of 18-25 year-olds preferring socialism), represent a more accurate picture of American values.

    The pathetic little “anti-protest” gathering had a rude awakening as they discovered that most vehicles toot their horns in support of the demonstrators.

  17. Anonymous
    March 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Harold, that reminds me of the anti-hippie parade that a local business woman organized several months ago to “take back the Plaza.”

    She made a lot of pronouncements about how she and her massive army of outraged citizens were going to march around the Plaza three or four times to show the bums who was the boss of the City.

    What happened when that day came?

    I guess we’ll never know. I never heard another peep out of her. My best guess is that s handful of her friends showed up and were astonished that no one else showed up.

  18. Harold Knight
    March 25, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Fabulous turnout at the Eureka Women’s Center.

    No supervisors, no media, it never happened.

    Mission accomplished “community” media.

  19. Mitch
    March 25, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Harold,

    No different than throughout history. Be of good cheer.

    Here are two H.L. Mencken quotes for your Sunday morning:

    No government is ever really in favor of so-called civil rights. It always tries to whittle them down. They are preserved under all governments, insofar as they survive at all, by special classes of fanatics, often highly dubious.

    –Minority Report (1956)

    The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth.

    –Baltimore Evening Sun (12 February 1923)

  20. March 25, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Those aren’t “bums” in front of the courthouse, High Finance, those are patriots.

    It’s always patriots vs. tories and it always will be. Guess what High Finance you are a tory. A tory is the king’s bootlicker.

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  21. Anonymous
    March 25, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I was at the Women’s Club yesterday. Charles and Gabby were there. Someone was making a video in the middle. None of them showed the crowd. Too bad. It was a well-attended meeting. The people there were well-behaved. They sat in neat rows of chairs. They listened to the speakers attentively. The speakers were informative. Even Verbena (who failed to enthuse the crowd with her upraised fists and shriek of All Power to the People! at the beginning of her remarks) went on to explain in detail the many activities she has attempted in pursuit of civil liberties for homeless people. I don’t know if anyone with a videocamera showed the crowd there for the calm, concerned, rational collection of community members they were. In any case, if there are no piictures to show, at least there is now my account of what I saw there then.

  22. labtech
    March 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    “Those aren’t “bums” in front of the courthouse, High Finance, those are patriots.”

    Keep your head down when you salute these “patriots,” Bill. You never know what’s in the air.

  23. Anonymous
    March 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Bigot.

  24. March 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    The Raging Granniessang about tFreedom or the lack of it–ZWe will sing you a protest song when needed–appropriate to the
    occasionJean doran

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