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.

"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.

Memorial Day Commemorative Ceremony in Boca Raton this morning

Date: Mon, May 26, 2014
Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: Boca Raton Cemetery (map) (weather)

Featuring veterans groups, city officials, music by Ft. Lauderdale Highlanders and Boca Raton Community High School Band; drills by Boca Raton Community High School NJROTC; and Boca Raton Police and Fire Honor Guards. Volunteers provided by Boca Raton Kiwanis.

Boca Raton Cemetery
449 SW 4th Avenue
Boca Raton FL 33432 US

memorial-day-wallpapers

Memorial Day Concert this evening in Boca Raton

Date: Mon, May 26, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 AM

The Indian River Pops & Robert Sharon Chorale along with the New Gardens Band will perform. This full concert band will feature patriotic music under the direction of Owen Seward.

Mizner Park Amphitheater
590 Plaza Real
Boca Raton FL 33432 US

memorial-day-wallpapers

SKLAR FURNISHINGS INVITES BOCA RATON COMMUNITY TO ITS FIRST “ALL THAT’S GREEN” SUNDAY ON MAY 18TH

Fun & Free Event Shares Advantages of Eco-Smart Living While Benefiting Habitat For Humanity of South Palm Beach County

Continuing the global glow of the 44th Annual Earth Day, Sklar Furnishings (Sklarfurnishings.com) announces its hosting of its first “ALL THAT’S GREEN” SUNDAY, a free community event to share the advantages of embracing and enjoying a “natural” eco-smart lifestyle while benefiting Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County on May 18th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at its 22,000–square–foot contemporary furniture showroom and design center. An industry leader in green advocacy that forges furniture alliances around the globe with designers and manufacturers that share its strong commitment to the environment, Sklar Furnishings is bringing Tesla, Environmental Strategist Yalmaz Siddiqui of Office Depot, Inc., Shred Trust, eBikes On Demand powered by the Electric Bike Store, Organic Cellar Plus, American Fine Wine Competition, Gourmet Truck Expo (serving up plant-based and organic foods), Eat The Truth with Coco Frey, Cristino Fine Jewelry, and Habitat For Humanity’s ReStores to join its team of credentialed home and office designers and space planners to help drive the year ‘round message of building a greater eco-community.

In addition to having the opportunity to tour its variety of custom furniture lines that are invested in heavily reducing the environmental impact of its operations and use of reclaimed natural materials, event-goers will enjoy a host of green lifestyle showcases, demos, ebike test drives, healthy food samplings, organic and sustainable wine tastings, energy efficiency seminars, onsite estate jewelry re-sales, live entertainment by vocalist Kendra Erika, and special offers, giveaways and chances-to-win.

While Sklar will donate a percentage of sales on event day to Habitat for Humanity of South PBC plus two trees to a Florida forest for each purchase of a wood product, event-goers also have the opportunity to do their part in “repurposing, recycling and shredding” for a cause. To help raise vital funds for Habitat For Humanity, Sklar encourages the community do some serious “Spring Cleaning” and then donate their gently used household discards on event day for resale at Habitat for Humanity ReStores (www.bocadelrayboynton.habitatrestores.org). They can also bring their old tax and other personal documents to be securely shredded onsite by Shred Trust — for a $5 donation per container — during event hours. Scheduling pick-ups of large appliances, furniture, doors, hurricane shutters and more can also be made at the Habitat for Humanity tent.

“Even though Earth Day comes just once a year, it is critical that environmental awareness and advocacy be a continuous all-year mission,” adds Sklar Co-Owner Rick Howard, who is also president of the North American Home Furnishings Association that champions the independent home furnishings retailer — the nation’s largest organization devoted specifically to the needs and interests of home furnishings retailers, with more than 1,800 members representing more than 7,000 storefronts across all 50 states and several foreign countries.

Sklar’s green commitment started with joining the Sustainable Furnishings Council, a nonprofit balance coalition of industry players founded at High Point, NC that promotes sustainable practices among manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike. Thus, Sklar does its part both in business operations of being as eco-efficient as possible and community initiatives such as ‘All That’s Green’ Sunday to raise awareness and encourage reductions in carbon emission, waste stream pollutants, un-recyclable content and primary materials from unsustainable sources.

“As a citizen and tenant of the planet, Sklar Furnishings pledges to continually work toward becoming ‘greener’,” reports Sklar Co-Owner Pat Howard. “Going beyond the obvious best practices, our company partners in creating forests via the National Forest Initiative by donating a tree to one of Florida’s four natural forests for each purchase of a wood product. On event day we will be doubling that donation for each purchase.”

She reported that a significant array of Sklar vendors are also responsible stewards of the planet, as event-goers will find as they tour through galleries featuring American Leather, Huppé, Jesse Furniture, Tonelli Design, Copeland Furniture, Phillips Furniture. All of Sklar’s leather line tanneries now use the eco-friendly method, all wood manufacturers use water-based stains, and several vendors offer selections of organic cottons, and several of its rug vendors use scraps from other industries (i.e. silk tie remnants, nylon hosiery wastes). There are plentiful design applications in glass – from tabletops and shelving to art and accessories – that in itself is “green”.

Committed To Building & Bettering Community Through Support of Habitat For Humanity
Since Sklar Furnishings opened its doors by the entrepreneurial husband and wife team in November 2002, the only independent furniture showroom of its kind in the region has had a strong partnership with Habitat for Humanity that provides “simple, decent, and affordable” housing for low-income families. Sklar donates thousands of dollars in merchandise to the organization that in turn is sold in ReStores, thus being recognized as a recipient of the “I Gave at the House” Award for six consecutive years. With Rick Howard serving on the Habitat for Humanity board of directors, Sklar’s support escalated to underwriting the construction of its first Habitat For Humanity home that was completed and dedicated in October 2013.

“Helping to not just provide shelter, but also instill pride of ownership and a true ‘sense of community’ to those working hard to become first-time homeowners is both gratifying and inspiring as our entire team looks forward to beginning efforts for a second Habitat For Humanity home,” noted Pat Howard, who with Rick Howard will be honored on May 22nd as the 2014 Small Business Leaders of the Year by the Greater Boca Raton Chamber for their professionalism, business leadership, entrepreneurship and community “give back”.