Our First Amendment Right has and will be the Chief Cornerstone of our democracy. Nothing is of greater importance then in defending this right. Historically, the courts have engaged in bitter battles in defining and shaping appropriate First Amendment speech.
Many have concluded that even the most antisocial, overt, threatening gestures are protected under the First Amendment. However, when United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s rendered his opinion in the how famous case of Gitlow vs. New York 1925, he stated, First Amendment freedoms are lost when speech poses an emanate threat of “clear and present danger” to our safety.
Such is the case with the recent actions of Palo Alto City Mayor Sid Espinoza who continues to abridge our freedom of speech by imposing prior restraints at directing criticism at government officials.
Sid Espinoza offers no sound legal opinion other than stating it conflicts with established city protocol and relies solely on the advice of city attorney Donald Larkin. Both refuse to return phone calls or respond to email requests.
The United States Constitution combined with the California Constitution trumps any city protocol imposed and or prior restraints without “Due process” of law. City attorney Donald Larkin and Mayor Sid Espinoza have both failed to address the following fundamental right of every citizen as follows.
“Congress shall make no [city] law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Their joints actions to impose and abridge conditions of Free Speech during oral communications can only be best described as “obscene” and represents a “clear and present danger” to the overthrowing of everyone’s right, to the Freedom of Speech.
Oral communications during city council meetings is the time which any citizen, foreign and domestic can in fact address grievances. What Mayor Sid Espinoza vehement objects to, is the directing of criticism to a specific government employee. He claims, it’s unconstitutionally permissible and offers no legal basis.