In a complete reversal of their earlier position, City Manager Jane Brautigam and her minions now seem to think that forcing those who would choose to exercise their free speech rights by demonstrating to do so only in city-approved “advocacy zones” with a city-issued permit is now a bad idea.
It’s as if the Freedom Fairy descended upon the bureaucrats of Boulder, spreading her free-speech sparkly dust upon those who clearly needed a good dose.
If not fairy dust, what else could have caused this sudden reversal of opinion?
Could it have been the fact that several members of council who aren’t afraid of being criticized by the public they work for thought that restricting free speech rights in a historically progressive place like Boulder is nothing short of f*%#@ crazy? Or was it the fact that moving forward on this hair-brained program designed to censor all citizens of Boulder presumably for the benefit of the few who do, in fact, fear what the public has to say, would no doubt have created the biggest public backlash in recent memory?
Either way, it appears for now that we citizens are still living in the Republic of Boulder. But this has been a valuable lesson. We need to keep our eyes on this particular group of city bureaucrats, as they seem hell-bent on forcing their vision of morality and their interpretation of what we can and cannot say and where we can say it on the rest of us.
Kudos to those on council who made it clear that they were going to fight this insane proposed ordinance to the very end. Now let’s just hope that the Freedom Fairy can work her magic on the corporate puppets running CU before next April.
POTUS AND POT
Speaking of, the University of Colorado spent more than $280,000 to shut down the campus on 4/20 so that pot smokers couldn’t exercise their constitutional rights to assembly, free speech and protest.
University officials, er, student leaders (sorry, common mistake) even shelled out a bunch of cash to pro-marijuana performer Wyclef Jean, who was allowed to play a concert at the Coors Events Center as an alternative to the annual smokeout, as long as he didn’t make any pot references. Not surprisingly, hardly anyone showed up.
And yet that same university announced last week that it spent $110,000 to bring the president of the United States, Barack Obama, to campus a few days after the marijuana smokeout. Obama, who was reportedly a stoner himself in his earlier years (despite his administration’s heavy-handed approach to state and local medical marijuana laws), spoke in the same Coors Events Center the following week.
Does this strike anyone else as odd? Our publicly funded university spent more than twice as much to keep herb smokers and their speech off campus as it did to protect an admitted herb smoker’s speech five days later?
We are supposed to be encouraged by the CU press release that assures us that funding for Obama’s visit came from “existing insurance rebates to the university” that will “not result in any tuition or fee increase to students or reductions in campus budgets.”
Whew. For a minute there, we thought there might be some sort of double standard, having a facility funded by a huge beer company at a campus that has a massive drinking problem, and then allowing certain pot smokers to speak there, while restricting other pot smokers’ free-speech rights on the rest of campus.