Having received several emails regarding the following Letter to the Editor originally published by the Davie and Cooper City Gazette we thought others might find it of interest. [ ED.]
Where’s the press and free speech?
While Cooper City’s dictatorial administration is flaunting their power by trashing the public’s right to speak against them, where’s the press?
At our last commission meeting, reporters covered the search for a new city manager, missing an issue that is the hallmark of the American pres: exposing when government is stealing people’s right to free speech. All ignored this constitutional violation.
Recently, the present commission unceremoniously threw out the long term city manager and city attorney, replacing the attorney with a friend and neighbor. They then decided on new rules of speech, assuring that only good things be said about them. The new city attorney, backed up the mayor’s undemocratic position, perhaps because he and his law firm both gave the maximum contribution to the mayor’s last campaign, then suddenly receiving this new job.
The dictatorial abuse of power, and the destruction of the public’s right to free speech is being ignored. I, and a former commissioner were denied our right to speak in full because the mayor decided arbitrarily that she didn’t like what we had to say. Where was the press, whose constitutional responsibility for their freedom of press is to help assure the freedom of the public to speak against abuse of power. Without this freedom there can be no democracy.
Our Founding Fathers gave the press greater protection so they would be the voice for those whom government is trying to silence. Our Constitution doesn’t say political speech must be favorable to those in power, in fact, it was developed to challenge those who are misusing their positions.
The press is supposed to exist to help stop such abuses, not to look the other way, either because you endorsed the wrongdoers, are afraid of their politics or because you support their future run for higher office. You need to be our voice now.