Public Comment

Free Speech Must Be for All, Even Panhandlers

By Richard Salzman
Friday November 04, 2011 - 02:07:00 PM

In our local media it was reported that in the City of Arcata CA, even the Mayor was out in support of the "Occupy Wall St." protesters. This provokes me to point out that while many in Arcata support the right of these "Occupiers" to hold up their signs with any number of statements and demands, if one of them dares to include a request for donations on one of those signs, they will be in violation of that city's Anti-Panhandling Ordinance--over which, as covered on the NCJ's Blog I am currently suing the City of Arcata in State Court. If we wish to support free speech for Tea Party Members and Wall Street Occupiers alike, we need also then tolerate free speech by panhandlers. 

Richard Salzman is a founding member of Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund in Arcata, California.