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Sign dispute in Santa Clara becomes federal civil rights lawsuit over free speech

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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:09 AM
Original message
Sign dispute in Santa Clara becomes federal civil rights lawsuit over free speech
Source: Tracey Kaplan, San Jose Mercury News

The banner is undeniably insulting: "CITATION HOMES hurts workers, hurts families, hurts the community; SHAME ON THEM."

But the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 405 uses such signs to protest wages paid by builders throughout Northern California with impunity.

Only in Santa Clara did police cite the carpenters and confiscate the banner under the city's sign ordinance, touching off a federal civil rights lawsuit filed earlier this month by the union, which claimed its free-speech rights were violated.

"We do this all over Northern California,'' said union spokesman Paul Cohen. "Santa Clara is really the only one saying, no, you're not allowed to.''

Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_14261037



That sign was put on a public curb across from the Citation Homes offices and was supported by PVC pipes. In my hometown (San Jose), there's a law banning posting any sign on lamp posts, which I sorta understand because those can cause litter issues if neglected.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. A good friend of mine put a sign in his yard opposing the Iraq war
and the city he lived has an ordinance forbidding yard signs. So they fined him. He called the ACLU and they filed a lawsuit. It went all the way to the state supreme court and my friend won a large settlement. His city also was forced to drop their anti yard sign law and several cities in the state did as well.

This is a very cut and dried first amendment issue.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Reason 8 million to donate to the ACLU.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:58 AM
Response to Original message
2. That's the one thing about Santa Clara I never could stomach - all the damn vampires.
Oh - sorry, that was Santa Carla. Santa Clara is all the damn Republicans.

I'd rather have vampires.
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Hey, we're not full of vampires
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cosmicone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:19 AM
Response to Original message
4. The sign is misleading ....
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 02:19 AM by cosmicone
"hurts workers, hurts families" etc. etc. is hyperbole. A truthful sign would say, "doesn't pay us what we want and affects our families' standard of living" ..... surely there are carpenters who are working for that company and are not being "hurt" from the wages they receive.
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Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:11 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Doesn't say hurts all families... n/t
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Tempest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. When you affect one family financially, you hurt others as well

It's simple economics.
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Bigmack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. OK then... how about this one...
...that says the company "..supports the plan to "Bangladesh-ize" wages and help turn this country into a 3rd world shithole."

There are probably carpenters working for that company that are glad for any wages, and their families in Mexico are, too.
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groundloop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:44 AM
Response to Original message
6. It'd be interesting to see if US Supreme Court is as worried about workers free speach
If this case made it to the US Supreme Court I wonder if they's be as concerned about unlimited free speach for workers as they were about corporations.


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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. The Citizens United case covers unions, too. And the 1st Amend. has always covered individuals.
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