Council cause was 1st Amendment
In reference to your Sept. 27 editorial ("Not a noble cause, but a correct one"), yes, Mr. Editor, I was removed from the North Adams City Council chambers for displaying a sign. That sign was directed at Councilor Lisa Blackmer for insulting me. Secondly, I chose to be removed from the council chamber because I was trying to get a ruling from the attorney general’s office. I was in contact with the attorney general that afternoon and asked about signs. I was told that they needed an incident so they could make a ruling. I furnished them with that incident.
I did indeed tell Councilor Harpin to "pay her taxes." I got that information from the delinquent tax list supplied to me by the city.
Councilor President Michael Bloom said it was a personal attack. I responded it was public record and of municipal interest. He violated my freedom of speech at that point, calling me out of order, then promptly adjourning the meeting. The editorial made no mention of Councilor Harpin screaming back at me that he just had a heart monitor installed and she was going to sue me. I did cross through the gate only after the meeting to catch up with Councilor Breen to thank her for calling into my show, which airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Channel 17, Northern Berkshire Com munity Television.
As for the no trespass order, the city has no grounds for it and has yet to say exactly why. As you stated in your editorial, you cannot see any connection to my outbursts. There are no outbursts. I only get to speak at the open forum, where I made statements of fact. You should review CDs of the meeting before you make any judgment of me. I am not trying to be a free speech hero, but if that’s what you think all the better for me.
Now The Eagle wants to ban signs from the council meetings. What others parts of the First Amendment do you want to ban? Your First Amend ment rights? I don’t think so. Let’s leave the First Amend ment in tact so we can make our federal, state, city and town governments accountable. So far, we still have some liberties left and should our government want to impede your rights to the freedom of the press, I will be right beside you.
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