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Is the Dallas City Council Made In China?
Citizen Leppert’s Blackout Policy a Threat to Free Speech/Voice and Local Democracy
Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. ~Potter Stewart
DALLAS-Should citizens be concerned when local governments start clamping down and controlling free flow of speech in public forums?
Dallas officials are concerned over public speakers appear before council that often present their points of view in unique and unorthodox manners leaving city leaders red-faced, embarrassed and contending that many concerns expressed crosses the line and may not be fit for public airing..
Currently, Dallas City Council meetings are aired on FM radio, broadcast on cable and streamed on the Internet.
However, the council has limited public comments to the city hall chambers cutting off dissenting opinions from public airing – in essence penalizing the public taxpaying citizens by controlling the free flowing stream of ideas and information in a democracy.
The Dallas City Council must be reminded that the U.S. Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
This trend of governments controlling information is repeating itself across Texas as elected officials are deciding and determining what is important for you as a taxpayer to hear, know and listen to.
It is a classic attempt of local governments to change Democracy as we know it.
In Beaumont, a Black radio station was silenced because its citizens exercised their rights to free speech until city leaders muzzled the radio station and kicked it out of city hall.
KSAP “The Breeze” at 107.1 FM was a notable and powerful voice that provided a public service and a host of free community programs for pastors, public officials, agencies, youth and in addition training and exposure for youth interested in radio careers.
This closure of the radio station was a complete breech of trust by Port Arthur officials and represents a lack of faith and confidence government has in itself and Port Arthur citizens and voters.
The Port Arthur City Council stifled free speech because of a stiff unwillingness to accept the truth or constructive criticisms.
The attacks on KSAP (“The Breeze”) were due in part to officials that do not want any radio station or news publications on the street that encourages people to express their free speech, opinions or exposes the real “warts”, corruption, discrimination, unfairness, racial strife, divisions or dark side of government and neighborhoods
Leppert and other city officials setting these policies are taking pages out of the Chinese playbook by choking, limiting and/or cutting off the stream that feeds citizen democracy.
According to Chinese government information, Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution states that Chinese do citizens enjoy freedom of Speech and freedom of the press.
Other legislation, such as China's Publishing Regulations, suggests that groups and individuals may not interfere in the lawful exercise of these rights.
However, despite those guarantees, the Chinese government practices censorship, according to government information services.
In China, government censorship, while not total, “is pervasive and highly effective”, and denies Chinese citizens the freedoms of speech and of the press guaranteed to them in the Chinese Constitution.
The government has even imprisoned journalists who provide news to foreigners, such as Zhao Yan, Shi Tao, and Ching Cheong.
Editors of publications that criticize government policies, such as Yang Bin of the Beijing News and Li Datong of the China Youth Daily, have been dismissed.
The government blocks the Web sites and radio and television broadcasts of foreign news organizations, such as those of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Free Asia, and the Voice of America.
In 2005, the government banned dozens of newspapers and confiscated almost one million "illegal" political publications.
Beginning in May 2005, the government blocked the Commission's Web site from being viewed in China.
It appears that citizens right of redress is being controlled and the public access to free flow of ideas an information is under fire and being challenged by the “doctors and lawyers” of the Sanhedrin. (Refer to the Bible and the challenges to Jesus the Christ)
The trend of local governments to control the free flow of free speech and the exchange of ideas in a public forum and across the airwaves is a dangerous precedent and should alarm all citizens living free in an American democracy.
Our own constitution guarantees all citizens the freedom and the right to self expression and attempts to change the tenets of the U.S. Constitution or control people living in a democracy because of personal preference or “feeling uncomfortable” about hearing ideas or seeing certain things is tampering with the very tenets that hold the constitutional fibers together.
Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is playing the same cards as the Irving City Council and Port Arthur City Council by controlling the free flow ideas and discouraging democracy by constipating the waves that propagate it.
Democracy can only survive when it is practiced in its purest form and that expression must be kept free and the lines open in order to prevent the adulteration of a democracy.
Censorship starts with public officials who want to nix opposing views and control the spin of information leaving city hall chambers.
Dallas attempt to control information using its blackout methods is the beginning of a slippery slope to totalitarian or dictatorial leadership at city hall and this must not be allowed or tolerated.
Councilwoman Angela Hunt has it right in her defense of democracy and assessment of Leppert’s policy.
“We work for these folks, and I think it is inappropriate to limit their time. People having the right to air whatever grievance they want in a public manner is "the whole point" of a public speaking session.”
Thomas Carlyle once said. “Every human being has a right to hear what other wise human beings have spoken … It is one of the Rights of Men; a very cruel injustice if you deny it to a man!”
Lest we be reminded of those words because they serve as the basis for the foundation of the American democracy – The right to the free flow of speech and exchange of ideas.
Just what does Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and the Dallas City Council fear by hearing the opinions and ideas of its own citizens?