Several of my neighbors have asked me for clarification of my statement in my recent courtesy notice – “A proposed ordinance that will prohibit “political campaign related events and activities” in Town building facilities, such as the Jim Shiver Community Center”.
I have attached a copy of the proposed ordinance for your convenience.
I am deeply concerned about this ordinance. I believe it to be in violation of our First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of assembly. It is vague, ambiguous, and will grant the Town Manager uncontrolled discretion to arbitrarily prohibit the Concerned Citizens of Cutler Bay from holding their meetings in the community center named after their founder, Jim Shiver, at Cutler Ridge Park.
There are numerous Supreme Court decisions that, at least to me, confirm my belief that the proposed ordinance is unconstitutional.
Also, again in my opinion, this ordinance seems to reflect a continuing trend in our Town government and management away from a friendly, responsive, and cooperative town government, and towards an autocratic, in-your-face, and adversarial attitude towards the citizens and businesses of Cutler Bay – more permits, more fees, more rules, more regulations, confrontational zoning and code enforcement, and not the least, a growing list of actions seemingly aimed at reducing or limiting our most basic constitutional rights – (In the span of one month, an ordinance, introduced with no public notice, that violated both the 4th and 5th amendments and was withdrawn after public outcry, and now this ordinance that violates the first amendment.) I believe that we need to do whatever is necessary to reverse this trend.
I urge you to read the ordinance and e-mail your council members with your opinions, pro or con.
Your friend and neighbor,