GOP Runs Afoul of Local Anti-Graffiti Law - 1st Amendment No-No?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mactastic, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #1
    A somewhat interesting debate has erupted in my local area over the 1st Amendment right to free speech versus the right of a city to prohibit the distribution of adhesive-backed materials for the purpose of the prevention of sticker graffiti.

    Link

    So... is it unreasonable of a city to ban all adhesive-backed material from being freely distributed (note they aren't banning the SALE of stickers, just the free ones) in places where sticker graffiti has been an issue, or is it a violations of your free speech rights?

    (And try for a moment to imagine this with the situation reversed if you are on the left, let's stay out of the politics of this matter for a bit. I know it will get there eventually, but I'm more interested in the infringment on 1st amendment rights issue than the fact that the GOP is upset.)
     
  2. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    #2
    I don't see any problem with this. Just get the GOP to reprint on some non-adhesive materials. I HATE when I come out to my car and I have a bunch of "new" bumper stickers. I think this is a great law. It's not hurting free speech because the word isn't being banned, the medium is.

    BEN
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #3
    yeah, that's the important thing. they'd get in trouble if the message was on free dime bags, too, and i don't think that would be a first amendment issue.

    though i understand the reason for the sticker ban, it does have an air of silliness to it.

    i wonder if the groups thought about charging a penny for the stickers.
     
  4. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #4
    I don't much care for regulations like this. If acts of vandalism are being committed, it isn't by the people giving away the stickers, so the restriction itself seems misplaced. In any event, the crime being committed is so petty, I think the city should refrain from walking up to the First Amendment line in an effort to prevent it. On a practical level, not only are they unlikely to significantly reduce the vandalism, they're also likely to get sued one of these days -- and that will cost the city a whole lot more than scraping some bumper stickers from city property.
     
  5. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    Denver
    #5
    Those darn neocon teens, always causing trouble! Just yesterday I saw some graffiti on a freeway soundwall that said "Bush Roolz" and another, "down wit da Dems". I think spray paint should also be banned, along with anything that could conceivably be used to tag anything, like magic markers and sharpies.

    Just another instance of a zero-tolerance rule gone nuts. Like suspending kids from school for aspirin and taking away tweezers from old ladies at the airport. Rules like this were designed to replace common sense, which they can't, obviously. It also speaks highly of a society that has lost respect for its institutions (tagging) and its citizenry (we don't trust you with dangerous things like stickers). Just shows how far we've come in a hundred years.
     
  6. pooky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    #6
    Of course you're talking a city with a huge number of silly laws like this on the books. My favorite one is the law that prohibits drive-throughs in fast food restaurants, because they want to create a "family dining atmosphere." Like with the bumper sticker law, they fail to realize that the law they passed really has no power to effect the change they're looking for. It's what happens when you have a small town with a city council with not enough to do.
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #7
    As I'm sure mactastic can also tell you, San Luis Obispo isn't exactly a "small town," even by California standards. I'd guess the population is around 100,000. It's a sophisticated, prosperous city, with a university, a county seat, and a population heavy on students and professors. I'd say from my frequent visits there, that they've got their issues pretty well under control. So what I think we're seeing here isn't so much creative thumb-twiddling by a bored city council, but an an effort to address the minutiae. Most cities don't have that luxury.

    Anyway, I've seen this scenario many times before: What seems like a reasonable solution to a small problem spins out of control, and ends up costing more in dollars and lost opportunities then if they just left bad enough alone.
     

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