Sunday, October 23, 2016

SF Ethics Cmte Shreds 1st Amendment; Bans Signs

Last week, I mentioned the San Francisco Ethics Commission developed Meeting Decorum rules prohibiting paper signs and other forms of free expression. For the commissioners, the First Amendment be damned for the ex-judge Quentin Kopp, law professor Peter Keane and lawyer-to-the-powerful Paul Renne, husband of Louise, the former City Attorney.

Without any public debate and despite directing the current City Attorney Dennis Herrera to present an opinion regarding my contention that signage of all sorts is allowed at this and all commissions meeting at City Hall, the ban is in effect. Herrera failed to produce the opinion at the commissioners didn't agendize their new rules.

Before and during the meeting, Eileen Hirst, the sheriff's chief of staff, and four deputies were tasked to keep tabs on me. When I held up a paper sign, Renne summoned the deputies and I was intimidated to put the sign away.

However, during public comment I wore my vest backwards because it has a Petrelis for BART Board sign pinned on at the back. Cloth signage is allowed, as you'll see in the video.

One other radical change from last month's contentious meeting, where the commissioners interrupted myself and other taxpayers during what was supposed to be our public comment time, was no commissioners disrupted our speeches. They waited till we were finished to asked questions or opine on our comments.

It's a sad state of affairs that liberal San Francisco in 2016 blatantly violated free expression protections of the First Amendment and not one member of the Board of Supervisors, progressive or moderate, nor any Democratic club, raises a peep of protest.

This. Must. Change.

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