Throughout the controversies surrounding William Fitzgerald’s various rants, we have heard over and over that nothing can be done, and anyone is free to say absolutely anything they want during public comments.
A few minutes ago, we found out just how true that is. A gentleman named Damian Ramirez came to the microphone in the wake of one of gadfly James Robert Reade’s diatribe about gang members and their attitudes toward the Robert “Lil Clumsy” Moreno, Jr. in particular and law and order in general. I didn’t catch his name, but he’s was there to speak against the Anaheim Police Department, specifically about the fatal shooting of Martin “Angel” Hernandez.
Following a lengthy exposition by Mayor Tait that speakers are free to say anything they want, regardless of how profane, Mr. Ramirez took him at his word by yelling “F–k the police!!” and launching into an anti-police rant that left virtually no obscenity unsaid – to the cheers of quite a few people in the crowd.
Now that Mr. Ramirez has broken the F-word barrier, to the huzzahs of the crowd, there’s really nothing left of structure of civility in the Anaheim council chambers. What resident in their right mind, after watching that episode, will want to come and voice thoughts that run contrary to the collective opinion of the mob? Welcome to Anaheim, the City of Kindness.
There followed quite a bit of yelling and labeling Anaheim police as murderers and assassins. Council candidate Donna Acevedo basically said she didn’t believe Robert Moreno Jr. shot at the police. as did another regular anti-police speaker, Zia Back, who said she flat out doesn’t believe Moreno fired at the police because it wasn’t captured on video or in a photo (which would require us to believe the police shot their own dog in order to execute Moreno).
6:59 p.m.: Great. A young teenage girl just dropped an F-bomb.
7:01 p.m.: A guy from the American Indian Movement (the same guys who had a 71-day armed standoff of federal law enforcement at Wounded Knee in 1973) just dropped the F-bomb.
7:03 p.m.: William Fitzgerald makes one of his genius points, applauding Mayor Tait for not impeding the obscenities, yelling and smearing of the police – because otherwise he thinks the speakers would have gone out and rioted.
7:06 p.m.: an articulate young woman with the anti-police brigade just said the situation in the city is “f-cked up” and that the council meeting is a “f-cking show.”
I’ve heard a lot of these speakers denouncing the police and calling them pigs and murderers and assassins. I have yet to hear a single person ask, what if Robert Moreno Jr., as he fired away at the police, had hit an innocent bystander – a child or an expectant mother — instead of a dog? Amazing how that never enters their tub-thumping.
7:10 p.m. Mayor Tait just assured the “Anaheim police are murderers and assassins” crowd that they can be sure there will be no retaliation against them – but no request made to please refrain from using the F-word during public comments. I guess Anaheim residents will have to ask their TV programming provider to add a parental lock option to the city’s cable channel.
Or maybe the meeting order could be amended to create two public comment period: a family-friendly one at the beginning, and the Cinemax-version at the end of the council meeting, after the children have gone to bed.
Perhaps, at the next council meeting, the Anaheim Ballet could be asked to perform an interpretive dance on the theme of “F-ck the Police!” It would be appropriate: the next council meeting is on April Fool’s Day.
Maybe Tait can declare 2014 the “Year of the F-Bomb.”
You reap what you sow. There is nothing more uncivilized than a police force deliberately and with malice of forethought harming people in the community.
Curse words don’t hold a candle to that sort of violence.
The curse words were just small sampling of the criminal intimidation the street-gang subjects against our law enforcement officers.
You are completely out of touch with reality. So shooting a known gang member who shot at the police is abusive?? What about all the victims of gang violence? I don’t hear you standing up for them? Yet you defend the gangsters who terrorize our city. You really should be ashamed of yourself. I hope you never find yourself a victim of a crime. Clearly you should leave the police out if it and handle it on your own. Better yet, why don’t you offer to live in a gang infested community and see how you fair. It’s not the fault if our police that people join gangs. It shouldn’t be eff the police, but eff the gangsters.
A jury found otherwise.
George Carlin: Where are you now that we really need you?
“Mayor Tait [stated] that speakers are free to say anything they want, regardless of how profane.” This conclusion is a serious misinterpretation of the Constitution.
The First Amendment says, in part: “Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.”
That it is unconstitutional for the government to suppress speech does not mean that any person has the right to say anything anywhere. In fact, the First Amendment does not sanction the unrestricted use of vulgarity. It bans the passing of laws that prohibit or abridge speech.
The mayor and the city attorney could–and should–do more than sit on their hands when foul-mouthed individuals rise to spew filth within the council chambers. To remain mute reveals a lack of leadership, the acceptance of unprincipled governance, and a gross misinterpretation of the First Amendment.
I agree that repeated vulgarity is not expressing a viewpoint therefore not considered free speech.
That “gentleman” was right about one thing: Tom Tait has lost control of that chamber, and he’ll probably never get it back. He’s become too enmeshed with the gang families.
The Council can restrict obscene comments to after-hours public comment period (which would follow Council business), just as the FCC can restrict adult TV shows to after-hours. The Council may not be able to ban such comments, but it can certainly regulate them to hours when kids are not present in the chamber!
No, they can’t. Broadcast radio does not constitute a public forum.
Back up @ Hugh, while I admire your passion, you’re wrong to insist that a municipality is within its rights to censor speech based on its content– obscene or otherwise.
Wiki “Public Forum.” When you’re done, you should probably read Cohen v. California. Here’s the most famous line, which is tied to the word the author uses in the title of this blog post:
“For, while the particular four-letter word being litigated here is perhaps more distasteful than most others of its genre, it is nevertheless often true that one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric. Indeed, we think it is largely because governmental officials cannot make principled distinctions in this area that the Constitution leaves matters of taste and style so largely to the individual.”
Why this continues to be brought up in comments on this blog continues to perplex me. This. Is. Settled. Law. Demanding that the Mayor censor public comments based solely on the content of the speech IS UNAMERICAN AND ILLEGAL.
Passionate? Great. Upset about what’s being said? Fine.
If you want someone to blame, then blame the right people. The Mayor of Anaheim is not responsible for actions taken by the SCOTUS or the State of California. Those who are telling you he is have a fundamental misunderstanding of how government works and/or are blinded by a personal vendetta.
**meh, “obscene” in the second line really ought to be “indecent”, but I’ll take that argument if someone really wants to throw it up.
Also, Matt– I continue to dislike your filter.
I brought attention to gang members preparing to cause harm to our citizens and police department. I published photos of gang members posing with guns and their threatening communications to support my comments. I used the word “expletive” in place of profane words when reading gang members statements. I have more than 15,000 images to back up everything I say.
The Tait supporters are in the house! Let the F-bombs fly!
Unreal that anyone could allow the city to get to a place like this. Where is the leadership?
Ryan — I think you’re missing the point entirely. Tait just about encouraged multiple drops of the F-bomb in the meeting. He is the presiding officer of the council and he has lost total control. So what’s next? Should offices all be equipped with GoPro video cameras to photographically document they are being shot at? Should we start installing massive numbers of high def, night-vision equipped video cameras all over the city to capture what really happened. Because even if its on video, there are folks in Anaheim that still won’t believe it? Why is running from and shooting the police ever an acceptable option Ryan?
None of those questions have any relevance to anything I said.
Not one of them.
then you missed the point
It was a direct reply to another comment, genius. It’s not a reply on Matt’s piece.
I know. You missed the point
And the strangeness continues . . .
OK, Dan. It was an argument about what the 1st Amendment does and does not apply to (profanity specifically), but over in Chmielewski land, it really means let’s talk about when it’s appropriate to run from the cops.
Damion spoke about Martin Hernandez not Manuel Hernandez.
Seriously I think what the young girl said is true. We should be helping our city, fix the community & streets. The city has money, but where does it all go to? We don’t have to have the money go towards disneyland, why? Because they have money, they can use the money they have on themselves instead of getting it from us. Also we should stop spending money on building new houses & use it to fix the neighborhoods that are run down.
The city is giving money to Disneyland? Really! get a clue? Show me the checks the city is writing to Disney.
What scares me is that people like you might cats a vote, and cast it for a moron like Donna Acevedo, who doesn’t have Clue 1 about how to run the city.
What happens to males who never grow up? They get jobs at the OC Weekly.
The City isn’t sitting on unlimited funding but we are spending what is available in the most distressed areas of Anaheim. We just came out of a very long recession and now that we can balance our budget, we are restoring services but it takes some time. We are putting parks, street paving, community centers, restoring library hours and many many other services in place. None of that will make a difference to gang members or their advocates. Moreno shot at his probation officers by choice not because the neighborhood he was visiting needed its street paved. Stop making excuses and condemn his behavior – many people’s lives were put on the line including a gun pointed at two young children. Moreno gave the police no choice.
And Disneyland pays for its own upkeep and contributes the most to the city’s general fund every year. Its a tired attack on the city to say Disney gets all of the money and its just not true. If your neighborhood needs help, grab a paint brush, broom, trash can and help. The City is doing what it can but residents should be part of the solution if we are successfully going to restore areas that have been overrun by gangs and criminal activity.
I don’t entirely think it is realized by many people here that by all intents and purposes, we aren’t defending gang members, we’re defending innocent people who live in poor communities and happen to live a different lifestyle than you. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you’re just racist and culturally inept?
So anyone who doesn’t live in whatever lifestyle you are referring to is racist? The city is run by employees who work extraordinary hours to help all neighborhoods. We are outnumbered by gangs, taggers, and their sympathizers. Innocent people like the mom who was coming home with her two young kids, don’t deserve to have trash like Moreno point a gun in her child’s face. Innocent people living their lives in our poorest areas want peace not the hatred that was shown in our council chambers by Acevedo and her friends on Tuesday. Try helping kids stay away from gangs and the pressure to join gangs – that’s what you can do to help innocent people in our city. Not once has Acevedo, or any of the mothers who’ve lost their sons to gang violence come to City Hall when gangs stab or attack teens on our streets. Where’s the grief and compassion for those moms?
Let’s start the “Re-Elect Tom Tait – a project of GANG PAC” committee! The OGs and homeys can “encourage” the intimidated working families in their neighborhoods to make donations.
Maybe Moreno’s Mom can run for council too!!
Here’s a story for any reporter with the guts and integrity to follow it and report it:
Earlier this year, Anaheim police were chasing a criminal into the Anna Drive neighborhood. The suspect runs into one of the apartments and the police follow him.They take him down in the kitchen and while they are struggling to subdue and handcuff the suspect, who walks into the kitchen from the next room to see what’s going on? Mayor Tom Tait!!
It turns out the suspect run into Yesenia Rojas’ place; he’s her nephew. And Tait was there in the apartment when it happened.
Was this included in the police report? If not, why not? And if omitted, was pressure put on the police to leave Tait, who was a witness to the arrest, out of the report? Will any reporter chase this down?