Two weeks ago, this Council approved two revisions to its sign code ordinances. Both of the original ordinances were unconstitutional and unenforceable; so were the revisions.
The first increased a limit on the amount of time campaign signs can be displayed on private property. At that meeting, and well before the primary, I informed the City that my campaign sign is up, was up then, and would be displayed on my property until after the November election. The City has never attempted to enforce this ordinance against me.
The second code revision was apparently in response to a speech I made at the previous meeting, and posted on public light poles around town, chastising a City police officer for: attempting to cite me for posting that felons can vote in Oregon; finding he could not, since the city code forbade only commercial postings; and then repeatedly tearing down my fresh posts while on duty and in uniform. This violated my free speech and the voting rights of felons.
So the City asked the Council to make all posting on public property illegal, enforceable either by citation or by the City paying to clean the posts. The Supreme Court of Oregon has ruled that the public can post on public poles. The purpose of the sign code is to ensure public safety. What is the public safety issue here?
The public has posted signs on public poles since our country began. It is the cheapest, most timely, and democratic of forums. What one citizen is free to post, another is free to take down, if he is offended.
But when workers on city payroll take down my fresh notices, they are suppressing my speech with my tax money. By this ordinance revision, the City and the Council have officially joined the cop in suppressing free speech and voting rights.
I have continued posting. I have not been cited. Enforcement seems to be confined to tearing down notices in the downtown core on a sporadic basis.
The Council’s ordinances are only the Council’s opinion unless and until they stand up in court. Unenforceable ordinances that obviously violate constitutional rights only punish those who obey them.
You invoked the name of Jesus at the beginning of that meeting. The City Council is supposed to secure our rights against over-reaching by the City. By passing such ordinances, you place a stumbling block across your innocent brother’s path, steal his money, and violate his rights.