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Free speech on the Web

Becky O’Malley
Friday November 16, 2001

The Daily Planet received a copy of this letter addressed to the City Council: 

I’m writing to defend the mayor’s right to say anything she wants, even on her city-sponsored web page. I firmly believe that anyone who wants to make herself look silly should be allowed to do so, even at public expense if necessary. I do agree that the mayor’s letter on the Web (saying, a la Chicken Little, that the sky is falling because the council majority expressed reservations about U.S. foreign policy) is silly. It looks particularly silly now that the Contra Costa Times has released its poll proving that the majority of Berkeley residents support the council majority on the issue – no surprise to me there, though it’s obviously a surprise to the Mayor. 

But I think that the best remedy for speech we don’t like is more speech. Period. With that in mind, I would like to offer people who disagree with the mayor the opportunity to put their opinions on the web too, not at public expense, but at my expense, on the Berkeley Free Press web page: I’ll try to put up any letters which are e-mailed to me, within the limits of my technical ability, time constraints and available memory on my server. Perhaps the City Council, as a quid pro quo for the city’s provision of free Web space to the mayor, could simply ask city staff to provide a link to the Berkeley Free Press site on the city’s site. 


Becky O’Malley