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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Seven Days

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

No-body's right to assemble is being blocked. We are all free to assemble. It just has to be on a sidewalk at night. If you want to block traffic then you may need to get a permit. Libby is just doing what the majority that voted for her wants her to do. Put an end to the anarchists that are destroying private and public property.

FROM THE ACLU WEBSITE
Can my free speech be restricted because of what I say — even if it is controversial?

No. The First Amendment prohibits restrictions based on the content of speech. However, this does not mean that the Constitution completely protects all types of speech in every circumstance. Police and government officials are allowed to place certain narrowly drawn "time, place and manner" restrictions on the exercise of First Amendment rights — for example, permit requirements for large groups using public parks or limits on the loudness of sound amplifiers. Any such restrictions must apply to all speech regardless of its point of view

Question
Where can I engage in free speech activity?
Generally, all types of expression are constitutionally protected in traditional "public forums" such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. In addition, you may have a right to speak in other public locations that the government has opened up for unrestricted public speech, such as plazas in front of government buildings

Question
How about on private property

The general rule is that the owners of private property can set rules for speech on that property. If you disobey the property owner's rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply). But your speech may not be restricted if it is taking place on your own property or with the consent of the property owner.

Question
Do I need a permit before I engage in free speech activity?

Not usually. However, certain types of events require permits. For example:

- A march or parade that does not stay on the sidewalk, and other events that require blocking traffic or street closure;
- A large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices; or
- A rally at certain designated parks or plazas.

Many permit procedures require that the application be filed several weeks in advance of the event. However, the First Amendment prohibits such an advance notice requirement from being used to prevent protests in response to recent news events. Also, many permit ordinances give too much discretion to the police or city officials to impose conditions on the event, such as the route of a march or the sound levels of amplification equipment. Such restrictions may violate the First Amendment if they are unnecessary for traffic control or public safety, or if they interfere significantly with effective communication to the intended audience. A permit cannot be denied because the event is controversial or will express unpopular views
Question
If organizers have not obtained a permit, where can a march take place

If marchers stay on the sidewalks and obey traffic and pedestrian signals, their activity is constitutionally protected even without a permit. Marchers may be required to allow enough space on the sidewalk for normal pedestrian traffic and may not maliciously obstruct or detain passers-by

Question
May I distribute leaflets and other literature on public sidewalks without a permit?

Yes. You may approach pedestrians on public sidewalks with leaflets, newspapers, petitions, and solicitations for donations without a permit. These types of free speech activities are legal as long as entrances to buildings are not blocked and passers-by are not physically and maliciously detained. However, a permit may be required to set up tables or other physical structures

Question
Do I have a right to picket on public sidewalks

Yes, and this is also an activity for which a permit is not required. However, picketing must be done in an orderly, non-disruptive fashion so that pedestrians can pass by and entrances to buildings are not blocked

Question
What do I do if I get stopped by the police?

Stay calm, be polite, and don't run. Don't argue, resist, or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or you believe that the police are violating your rights. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself, but you do not have to provide an ID or other paperwork. Make sure to keep your hands where police can see them. Point out that you are not disrupting anyone else's activity and that the First Amendment protects your actions. Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away.

For the full text:
https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/demonstrations-and-protests

38 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Gene Keenan on 06/10/2015 at 10:58 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

Mr. Johnson,

Numerous people inside City Hall, including people close to the mayor, have told me that the intent of her policy is to eliminate nighttime protests in Oakland, because of the past incidents of vandalism. That's why we're using the phrase nighttime protest ban.

Plus, the idea that a large protest at night can be confined to sidewalks is fantastical. Moreover, it makes no sense: Why put people who want to break windows closer to those windows?

Anyone who thinks that the mayor's new policy is anything but a ban on nighttime protests is kidding themselves or purposely attempting to mislead.

21 likes, 36 dislikes
Posted by Robert Gammon on 06/10/2015 at 10:49 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

Mr. Gammon still refuses to acknowledge, even in his comment, that the ban is not on "the right of citizens to protest, regardless of the time of day", but rather on STREET night time protests. The fact that he chooses to ignore this very important detail, demonstrates that he is only interested in framing this as an Us vs Them argument, one of those against free speech and those for it, when its NOTHING like that at all. Its about keeping the community safe, protestors, police, and its citizens. Should people be allowed to walk in the middle of the 880 whenever they feel the urge?

42 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by Clarence C. Johnson on 06/10/2015 at 10:35 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

Umm, Jonathan, this paper endorsed Libby Schaaf for mayor last fall -- as you know. And the idea that Express supports the vandals who call themselves anarchists is absurd.

But we do wholeheartedly support the First Amendment and the right of citizens to protest, regardless of the time of day. And so it should come as know as surprise that we strongly oppose Schaaf's protest ban.

It's also a gross misuse of funds -- as this column points out.

24 likes, 33 dislikes
Posted by Robert Gammon on 06/10/2015 at 9:44 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

The Mayor's budget significantly increases spending in all of the areas cited by the author as needing more investment. It is telling that the anarchist anti-police movement in Oakland - which this newspaper joined a few years ago - has to obfuscate to make any arguments at all.

37 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by dto510 aka Jonathan Bair on 06/10/2015 at 9:30 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

EBX:journalism that is based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration.

57 likes, 32 dislikes
Posted by Matt_Chambers on 06/09/2015 at 8:23 PM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

I guess we should be glad that the writer's eyes seem at last to be open regarding Schaaf whom he endorsed in the past election.

Schaaf is a lightweight and simply continues in Oakland's tradition of electing politicians with very little experience solving real problems (as opposed to reacting in a CYA mode to what they see as political faux pas). In the last mayoral election there were very many candidates of significant real achievement who ran against establishment characters Quan, Kaplan and Schaaf. None of these longtime city hall residents has ever had significant employment outside that fancy building. Oakland again chose poorly.

A bit of reflection on Oakland as a supposedly progressive city is revealing. In the mainstream press, in looking at the problems of minority inequality, it's been pointed out that in the most unequal cities the rate of homicide crime investigation and successful prosecution often is about 30%. In this "progressive" city, as the writer points out, the homicide investigation rate is right there at about 30%, just as in the most racist cities in the country. You can bet that if most of the homicide victims in Oakland were white, the rate of investigation and prosecution would be more like 90%,

Think about it "progressive" Oakland!

33 likes, 43 dislikes
Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/09/2015 at 7:28 PM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

I have n idea what anyone in Oakland needs to gripe about. Unemployment rate is low, minimum wage is up, real estate is booming resulting in trickle down economics. It is time we all rally around this mayor and welcome her efforts to make peace in this beautiful city.

3 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Garry Ovalbach on 06/01/2015 at 12:16 AM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

Protests in Oakland end up costing tax payers and business. This is a step in the right direction. Go pick on another city with your so called 'protest' and learn how to influence the policies you want changed. Stop trashing the city we love: Oakland CA!

12 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Mike Merriman on 05/30/2015 at 11:26 AM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

All I can say is….OOPS. How about a 24 hr ban on helicopters? I'm tired of the racket… The protesters are QUIET in comparison...

14 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by Segue Fischlin III on 05/29/2015 at 12:10 AM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

add a comment

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by John Randall Scott on 05/28/2015 at 8:51 PM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

It is interesting to note how divided the city has become over the nighttime ban on protesting. I personally think the ban is silly and merely created for the convenience of the established interests of Oakland. At least an ordinance to this effect should have been passed by city council. I think the expenses the city incurred by promoting this unconstitutional nonsense are well deserved. I notice that most of the people reading the comments here and then voting "like" or "dislike" seem to be in favor of protest ban.

7 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by John Randall Scott on 05/28/2015 at 8:48 PM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

A "ban" on protests??? Hardly as the previous (civil) protests have shown...

Mr. Gammon, your credibility has taken a severe hit because of how you presented this article.

12 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by John Blankenship on 05/28/2015 at 6:36 PM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

The protest on Thursday night was part of a national day of protest designed to bring attention to women who are victims of police violence.. These marches occurred in over 16 cities including SF and Oakland.. One was held in SF during the day the other was held in Oakland at night to accommodate working people, many who got off work and joined since they were not able to go to SF earlier in the day ..Night marches are not unusual, they are the norm.. There have been numerous candlelight vigils held throughout Oakland which are also 'demonstrations' that are held at night...

Lastly in terms of vandalism.. anyone thinking those occur at night are either misinformed or very naive.. There are scores of videos of protest in Oakland along that show windows being broken in broad daylight.. Anyone who has that as an agenda will not be stopped because they can't march at night...

15 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Davey D Cook on 05/28/2015 at 3:58 PM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

Schaff is failing in many areas as new Mayor. The scandalous hit and run scene in Oakland needs immediate repair. Ms Schaaf like her predecessor hasn't gotten enough police officers to enforce traffic and pedestrian safety nor does she realize that pushing on "smaller crimes" lead to more arrests of bigger criminals who routinely flout the law. Her recent anti-demonstration push is illegal and unconstitutional. It will waste money in litigation and she will be forced to rescind it. It isn't clear who advises her but they may require a simple brain transplant. Oh and by the way if she is reading this letter (doubtful) she might consider using many more 21st century rime fighting methods rather than hiring another few hundred officers at unbearable expense to her already strained budget. In any case a sound byte and a pretty face don't necessarily mean a talented politician is present.

7 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by Steve Redmond on 05/28/2015 at 11:16 AM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

At least she is not marching with protesters like Quan was

20 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Arlene D.Kock on 05/28/2015 at 10:23 AM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

I'm curious why the "organizers" of this protest would have to have it occur at night? Why couldn't it have been scheduled during that day or the following day? It was a weekend, so people could have easily attended.

Could it be that the "protest" was always a cover for vandalism and looting, but the high OPD presence thwarted that plan?

34 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by Michelle Mitchell on 05/28/2015 at 8:01 AM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

The failure was that she was shamed into taking action because the business owner who sustained thousands of dollars in damage made a sign naming her and the police chief as basically enablers to violence. The business owner had absolutely nothing to do with the social injustice the mob was protesting. Two wrongs don't make a right. The mob was as oppressive to those business owners, as violent, as disregarding of their property rights as the very element they were ranting about. Oakland is the laughing stock of the nation.

11 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Mary Vigilanti on 05/28/2015 at 12:18 AM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

Not sure what commenter Cohen means by "indigenous population" in this context.
Reports on some of the "demonstrations" indicated that arrested vandals were often not residents of Oakland or even of Alameda County.

17 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Ken Gibson on 05/27/2015 at 11:22 PM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

She should be focused on keeping the Warriors, Raiders, and A's in Oakland.

4 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by Allen Davis on 05/27/2015 at 11:19 PM

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