Maybe The City Should Borrow The Berlin Wall
Thursday, November 11, 1999
I can''t tell you what a fit I threw while reading last week''s story about congressional candidate Larry Fenton, who aimed to further democracy by registering voters (and sharing his Reform Party ideas) at the Tuesday Old Monterey Marketplace ("Democracy Inaction"). Fenton was kicked off the street and then the sidewalk, like he was the village idiot.
Let me tell you who the village idiots are: The people who think they can stomp on your First Amendment rights. In this case it''s the Old Monterey Business Association and the craven Monterey city officials who allow it to happen.
Help me out on this one. The Tuesday marketplace is held on city property with city cops patrolling.
The city claims it has a contract with OMBA that exempts it from having to tolerate our rights on "their property." Problem is, there is no such contract. But even if there was one, who is City Attorney Bill Conners or the Monterey City Council trying to fool?
No elected official, no bureaucrat, no judge, no cop, nobody has the authority to negotiate your rights down the river. The streets and sidewalks have historically served as the quintessential forum for free speech. For women parading for the right to vote. For black men fighting for the right to eat lunch at all-white cafes. For workers demanding a few extra pennies so they can feed their families. And for people just standing around talking about the government.
The city should do the right thing--the constitutional thing--and allow the Larry Fentons of the world to exercise their First Amendment rights on public property. Make it so, Mayor Dan Albert. Or I say it''s time to throw the bums out and find elected officials who respect and protect our rights!
Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign
Some zealous fans of water boardmember-elect Molly Erickson must have had a few too many espressos at Morgan''s on election night. Or were they just overcome by the thrill of Erickson''s defeat of Marc Beique?
Judging from the voluminous collection of Erickson campaign signs staked across the Monterey City Hall lawn the morning after, some community activists were not only ecstatic about Erickson''s win, but determined to lampoon Mayor Dan Albert''s attempt to ban signs from City Hall and Colton Hall.
Don''t despair, Mr. Mayor. Just think: Miss Molly will probably be so busy with water stuff, she won''t have a lick of time to attend City Council meetings. See? Every sign has a silver lining.
Hey, You Slimy Sea Creature! Tuck in That Overcoat!
Being a small squid in an overwhelming sea is stressful, and every once in a while I need to get out and have a few laughs. So on a recent Friday night, Squid and some friends headed to Monterey''s Planet Gemini for comedy night.
Squid''s slimy eyebrows raised when we were told we weren''t allowed to wear our jackets and had to check them up front. My initial thought was to throttle the guy, but hey, I''m a recovering carnivore.
I enjoyed the comedians. However, on the way back to my seat after visiting the little squid''s room to powder my tentacles, I was stopped by a security guard wearing an impressive radio headset. He demanded that I tuck in my sweater...or else. Huh? Squid doesn''t tuck sweaters in! And doesn''t that guy follow the latest Milan fashion trends?
A squid never argues with a crazed shark. So I made a quick exit. By the way, the overzealous security guard neglected to notice that the first comedian had his shirt untucked. Guess he got the last laugh.
Is chartreuse still "in"?: firstname.lastname@example.org.