25 August 2005

Trespassing Arrest Called A Free Speech Violation By ACLU

If you own or manage a retail property such as a strip mall, you have an obligation to protect the business interests, customer's safety, cleanliness of the common areas, and capital improvements to the facility. This is where a candidate for public office in the Commonwealth of Virginia and a Strip Plaza manager came into contact. Creating a situation for the ACLU to start to spout their free speech infringement bunk. Richard Collins is running for the State Delegate seat for the 57th district but didn't have the money to run a successful ad campaign. So what does he do on his shoe string budget? He prints up flyers and goes to the local shopping plaza and camps out in the parking lot in front of a grocery store. Grant it, this was an idea to encounter the masses of the community because everyone eats. But he didn't realize that the lot is the property manager's area of responsibility. And in order to protect the business interests of his tenets and the safety of their customers, the property manager cannot allow solicitation of the customers on the property. Let's face it, it is PRIVATE PROPERTY. The property owner pays property tax for the land and buildings on it. Therefore it is not public property. The government doesn't maintain it, a private business does. The customers of his tenets are guests on his property. If this joker was going door to door and he came to your house, and you didn't have the time or desire to listen to him, you would have the right to tell him to hit the bricks right? This is no different. But for some reason the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia is turning this into an infringement on the 1st Amendment. When Mr. Collins was asked to leave the strip mall by the property manager he refused. The police became involved and Collins was charged with trespassing. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia allows citizens to speak and hand out literature in a "Town Square Setting." The ACLU is arguing in modern day, shopping malls and strip plazas constitute modern day "Town Square Settings". This is a falsehood. A town square used to be the "Green" or the park in the center of most of small town America. In other words the "Commons". A piece of land owned and maintained by the town. A strip plaza or a mall are private properties not public lands. If Mr. Collins wanted to get his word out on the cheap, he could have done so by going door to door. But in doing so, he would be faced with those who would not want to hear his rhetoric. Would he refuse to leave farmer Bob's land if Bob said, "I'm not interested please leave?" If he didn't he'd be faced with a couple of conceivable situations. Either having a shotgun pointed to his nose or the local police being called to remove him. And that is the same thing that is happening here. The property owner said leave, he said no, and the law said you are trespassing. How is that restricting his "free speech?" This is nothing more than ACLU legalize to further a leftist agenda. Collins is running on the Democratic ticket for that seat. And as such, sympathetic to the causes championed by the American Civil Liberties Union. They don't see Mr. Collins speech being restricted, they see their own speech being restricted. Without having Collins in the State Legislature, they loose 1 voice there. So right or wrong, they are going to cry wolf where non exists just to try and get small town America to capitulate. Another case of the Strong Arm Tactics of the Most Dangerous Organization in America. Although there is another solution, if there is an empty store front in the plaza, why hasn't he inquired about renting that. He would therefore be entitled to stand with his toes on the "lease line" as it's called and shout his message at the top of his lungs because he is paying for the privilege in his rent. But I doubt that Mr. Collins wants to pay upwards of $4,000 per square foot per month to lease a store front to get elected to an office where if elected he would barely recover the amount paid in rent in the first year in the seat. Not without some graft payments to his favorite charity that is. His PAC maybe. The full AP story is available here. I would re-print it to save you time BUT an activist judge has granted the AP some special exemption to Title 17 section 107 of the U.S.C.
This has been a production of the Stop The ACLU BlogBurst. Every Thursday, members of the BlogBurst write about the stupidity and evil works of the Most Dangerous Organization in America. To join us, visit the Protest The ACLU weblog community and register. I will then email you requesting futher information. Upon receipt, I will add you to our mailing list and blogroll. I will then forward the javascript code for the blogroll and some additional invitations. At this time, there are 99 blogs listed on the Blogroll. We also have about 100 supporters who are members of the BlogBurst who do not blog, but do support our cause. The mailing list as of Wednesday night contained 233 email addresses. So, are you going to join us, visit Protest The ACLU today and I'll hook you up.
A special thanks to Mudville Gazette and Outside The Beltway for including my thread in their open posts. Blogger's 1st Amendment Pledge
If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules. Gribbit is a contributing writer at Stop The ACLU and the co-founder and administrator of Stop The ACLU BlogBurst.

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