Too many Americans like the idea of free speech, so long as they agree with what is being said

Free speech has been synonymous with America since our founding. Free expression is one of many great things about America. Being able to protest our government without reprisal, going out in public and espousing a particular belief, supporting a candidate (or not supporting a candidate) are all covered by our guiding principles found in our U.S. Constitution. And it is nothing new, after all, the Magna Carta was crafted in 1215.

040:365 Free Speech.
Photo Credit: John Nakamura Remy

But what often happens, some people get offended by all of that freedom. Many people are citing President Donald Trump as being highly critical of media outlets who profile him and his administration, as he says, unfairly. At least Trump is not putting them in jail as would Abraham Lincoln. You see, notions of fake news are nothing new in our constitutional republic and those who are offended by someone’s free speech often go down the wrong road of trying to inhibit that speech.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the notion that simply because someone is offended, it does not limit one’s ability to exercise another’s public speech. When it comes to religion, a government entity can allow religion to come into the government nexus, but it cannot show favoritism to any one religion.

For example, here in Boca Raton, Fla, the city government is considering reversing its historical practice of temporarily allowing religious organizations to put symbols of their religion in city-owned Sanborn Square each December. The reason? Someone chose to exercise his free speech rights and offered a contrasting symbol of the “normal” Christian birth of Jesus and the Jewish menorah. Everything was fine until someone offered an “unpopular” religion, so now it is suddenly being proposed that there will not be any displays permitted. The person behind the Satanic symbol that caused all the controversy last year was making the political statement that the city government should not have been allowing the displays in the first place.

Similarly, many state and local governments would hold a prayer before their official meetings and this is against our Constitution unless they offer different religions the same on a rotating basis. It cannot just be a Christian or Jewish “prayer” before official government meetings, it must be open to all religions. This is what made Chaz Stevens and others around the nation did a couple years ago, as a “minion of Satan” offering his invocation before local government meetings. Most city governments ended the practice of praying before their meetings or have at least opened it up to other religions as to finally be lawful under the U.S. Constitution. Though I can say as a frequent guest at city council meetings, this is not always the case. Stevens was simply trying to point out that the government should not be showing favoritism toward any particular religion and for so long as elected officials inject religion into government, it must be non-discriminatory. Afterall, while Christians and Jews make up a large swath of Americans, a near equal number of Atheists, Islamists, Buddhists, and over 300 other religions make up the rest of America.

We have even heard recent talk that some people should not be allowed on television if they support President Trump or his positions. This type of thinking is the complete opposite of what free speech is all about. Media outlets should offer opposing viewpoints on their television stations and on their websites so the public can decide for themselves what is best. It is not up to news media companies to parse through and edit footage to offer up a particular viewpoint to the general public. It is up to news outlets to offer unbiased information from all sides. This is Journalism 101. But we rarely see that in today’s media and that is unfortunate. American journalism is on life support.

Sadly, we see students being disciplined at schools around the country simply for espousing a contrasting opinion. Ultimately, thanks to organizations such as FIRE, these overboard decisions by school systems are held accountable. But such discipline should not exist for a student simply putting for their opinions. If not on a college campus, then where can a young person get the intellectual growth necessary to be a productive human being exposed to multiple points of view?

Another issue on today’s college campuses seems to be people wanting to shut down debates or speeches by those with opposing views. This has been a dramatic upswing this past year where speakers have been shouted down and physical threats have been made if they step foot on campus. OK, so you disagree with what they are saying; you can choose to not attend or you can attend and then during the Q & A offer your strong objections to what they said. But shouting them down for having an opposing view is clearly un-American and doesn’t help public discourse.

Another local case was T.A. Wyner went up again the Florida parks system, challenging their “bathing suit rule” as being unconstitutional. This, because the rule violates state law which allows one being nude in a public place so long that area has been set aside for that purpose and it is not for sexual reasons. In 2003, Wyner, an avid naturist, held a performance art exhibit in MacArthur State Park which included her being without clothes in violation of the state park’s “bathing suit rule.” Although she was arrested, she took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. Wyner should not have been arrested for two reasons, (1) she was actively expressing her first amendment right and (2) she was not violating state law.

So, while there are multitudes of people with which I may disagree, I enjoy exchanging ideas back and forth in a non-threatening, intellectual manner. It has been my experience, this works better than going out protesting a person instead of an issue or idea. Hopefully, when those exchanges happen, we both leave the conversation learning something. This is what free speech is all about in my opinion, and it is sad to see so many people willing to throw such discourse literally in the trash.

Thoughts on spending $34+ million on Boca’s public golf course

Late yesterday, May 8, 2017, the City of Boca Raton and the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District sat down to discuss what to do with a closed private golf course in the Boca Teeca area of Boca Raton. I have talked to many residents about the purchase over the last three weeks and almost all said the price was excessive, especially when they learn that appraisals came in for millions less. But those “in the know” have told me that even though they don’t like it either, I am wasting my time going up against the purchase because it is basically a “done deal.” The residents of Boca Teeca want it and the City Council wants it, so it’s “done.”

The City of Boca Raton is a well-run city overall, though, like most everything, it is not perfect. Members of the City Council are looking to enhance the city at every turn which is their job. But does that include being a bank? If the Beach & Park District wants to buy the golf course, let them get their own financing. Oh, that’s right, they can’t. So, the city should bow out and not be in the banking business.

The privately owned golf course closed the same reason golf courses across the country are closing, fewer people are playing golf, and the situation is not getting better, it is getting worse. Why plunge $24 million to buy the property and another $10 million to improve the property when there is less interest in playing golf.

The last city council meeting I was at, there was a big to-do and proclamation about conserving water. Adding a golf course to city limits is not water conservation.

I guess it comes down to the philosophy of whether governments should be in the golf business and if so, how much are the taxpayers willing to pay each year for the maintenance of that golf course? Although the Beach & Park District presented they would likely make a $1.95 million profit each year, the City of Boca Raton’s western golf course lost just shy of $500,000 last year. Rarely, if ever, do government-run golf courses make a profit. It is hard enough to do in the private sector, which is why this course was closed. Even the famed Arnold Palmer Golf Managment company couldn’t make it work, but apparently, those on City Council and Beach & Park District know better or are willing to roll the dice. We’ll see how it plays out.

NOTE: This post was mentioned in the Palm Beach Free Press.

golf-balls

Round 2 as Boca Raton again tries to ban vaping in public

vaping

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated vapers could go to jail for vaping in public places. This was an older version of this ordinance. The new ordinance has been updated and exempts violators from going to jail.

On Tuesday, April 28, 2015 City of Boca Raton City Council agenda, the issue of vaping is back on the agenda. The City Council meets at 6:00 p.m.at 201 W Palmetto Park Rd in Boca Raton, Florida. Earlier this year the council tabled the issue as not enough information was at hand to make a decision and most people speaking before the city council were against the proposed ban. We suspect the item was put on the agenda for purposes of voting it down as the council member who originally introduced it earlier this year is no longer on the city council. The issue was supposed to be tabled until the Florida legislature ended its session (this Friday) or when additional research comes to light.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

Take Action: Boca Raton to vote on whether to jail residents and tourists for vaping this Tuesday, February 24, 2015

vaping

At the Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Boca Raton City Council meeting, council members will be voting on whether to ban vaping similar to cigarettes even though the two are very different behaviors. See more detailed information about vaping here: https://karldickey.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/boca-raton-vaping-ban-introduced-at-city-council-meeting-vaping-could-land-you-in-jail-if-you-do-it-in-the-wrong-spot-in-boca/. This proposed ordinance intrudes on a business owner’s ability to govern their business as they see fit. It should be up to a business whether to allow vaping at their establishment and on their property – not the city government.

YOU can take action by attending the meeting and speaking against proposed ordinance No. 5296. The ordinance can be found here. The penalty for violating the ordinance would be $500 and/or 60 days in jail! Here is a link to the meeting agenda. Whether you support vaping or not, do you really think someone should spend 60 days in jail for doing so? If not, then you MUST attend to contact Boca Raton City Council members to put a stop to this violation of personal and business rights.

The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at Boca Raton City Hall, 201 W Palmetto Park Rd, Boca Raton, FL.

If you are not able to make the meeting, make your opinion known by emailing the city council – here are their email addresses:

shaynie@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
mmullaugh@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
cscott@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
rweinroth@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

ssinger@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Boca Raton vaping ban introduced at city council meeting, vaping could land you in jail if you do it in the wrong spot in Boca

At last night’s Boca Raton City Council meeting Ordinance 5296 was introduced to ban vaping (the act of using an electronic cigarette) and will be taken up for passage at a future meeting. If passed, the ordinance would fine vapers $500 or put them in jail for up to 60 days if they vape in the “wrong place”. The measure is a violation of a small business owner’s right to operate their business as they see fit. It should be, that a business owner should be able to ban or not ban vaping in their establishment. It should not be the local government’s draconian ordinance to put people in jail for such “offenses.” The ordinance takes that away business owner’s right.

Here is an article on the issue: http://www.examiner.com/article/boca-raton-vapers-could-go-to-jail-under-proposed-ordinance

If you would like to voice your disapproval of this proposed ordinance, please write your Boca Raton City Council members TODAY and say so! Let your voice be heard. Copy and paste their email addresses (below) and send them a quick email. Feel free to use some of the information found in the above linked article.

shaynie@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
mmullaugh@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
cscott@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
rweinroth@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

The issue will likely be taken up for initial votes at the February 24, 2015 meeting. Subscribe to this blog and we will let you know!

Price Reduced! – True Companion Crypt at Boca Raton Cemetery – $6995 (Boca Raton, FL)

This is your chance to purchase, at a steep discount, a true companion crypt (for two) at the exclusive Boca Raton Cemetery & Mausoleum. These crypts are selling for around $9,800.00 and you can get this one, in a great location within the mausoleum for only $6,995. Won’t last at this price! Email Karl at karldickey@gmail.com

See posting on Craigslist: https://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/for/4556611829.html

"What would you do if??"…."­How would you handle this???"

“What would you do if…………………

1)  If you could say three words to your 8 year old self, what would they be and why?

2) If you could have anyone locked in a room so that you could torment them for a day, whom would you choose, and how would you torment them?

 

If you live in/near Boca Raton, Florida, you may want to join this discussion group this Sunday morning. Please make sure to RSVP via Meetup.