Thursday, October 06, 2016

Sheriff, Ethics: No Legal Ban on Signs, 1st Amendment Restored?

Let me be frank. I want an official apology for all the times various presidents of the Board of Supervisors and commissioners denied me the right to exercise my First Amendment rights.

This is not a pretty picture, the active hindering by the Clerk of the Board, all with the agreement and no objections from _any_ Supervisor, the City Attorney's office, and the City Hall muscle known as the Sheriff's Department.

And all based on what legal authority? Nothing but thin air.

The Political Industrial Complex that occupies City Hall, the local Democratic Party rackets and clubs, has gone along with silencing me and every other public citizen wanting to speak freely during public comment.

My public records request to Sheriff Vicki Hennessy produced this email dated Sept 27, the day after three Ethics Commission members attempted to intimidate me into curbing my free expression rights, she sent to her chief of staff Eileen Hirst:

"I have reviewed the security items I have and do not see a prohibition. The only thing mentioned is, 'Signs mounted on sticks or poles are not permitted in City Hall. …Small paper or or cardboard signs no larger than (11” x 17”) that can be carried by hand are allowed.'"

She does not see a prohibition. Oh, but for about a decade the public has suffered serious infringement of our First Amendment rights and now a work group has because I'm demanding restoration of my free expression right. Getting the restoration does not preclude the Political Industrial Complex be held to account.

The director of enforcement for the ethics body, one Jessica L. Blome, in response to my request for the status of being provided with this alleged ban the commissioners said existed, shared this reply today:

"During the September 26, 2016, Commission meeting, you made a verbal request for something “in writing” prohibiting you from displaying signs during meetings of the Ethics Commission. Both the deputy city attorney present and staff responded that we weren’t aware of one.

"I confirmed that the Ethics Commission does not have a policy in writing prohibiting signs from Ethics Commission meetings.

"You may recall that Commissioner Kopp asked the City Attorney to draft a memorandum about the Commission’s authority to prohibit the display of signs during Commission meetings. We asked the City Attorney to provide this memorandum before the next Commission meeting of October 17. I will send you a copy of that memorandum as soon as it becomes available."

The three commissioners include ex-judge Quentin Kopp, downtown white-shoe attorney Paul Renne and professional legal expert Peter Keane, attempted to silence me and my sign and without any legal authority.

Oops. They made a big mess at ethics and the sheriff's unable to location any lawful ban on signs. San Francisco this week, thanks to my advocacy, marched forward into free speech protections which have been sorely denied at City Hall.

Here's hoping the day is soon here when we turn on the publicly-funded SFGov TV and there are citizens holding signs on whatever damn topic they choose and the microphone will remain on when they speak any words and names they feel need to be said.

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