Free Speech Hypocrisy From The Anaheim Left

Free speech and the 1st Amendment were on the tongues of a number of outraged progressives (are there any other kind?) speaking during public comments at this Tuesday’s council meeting.

Sometimes, they were referencing a proposal to change the format for public comments and the apparently egregious request that members of the audience be polite and respectful to their fellow human beings. Others took umbrage at criticism of Councilman Jose F. Moreno for provoking arrest by the Anaheim police for participating in a union stunt to shut down the Katella/Harbor intersection as thousands of NAMM Show attendees clogged the streets and sidewalks.

Here is local progressive activist Wes Jones – a regular speaker at council meetings – assailing a proposed change in the structure of public comments as an assault on free speech. He went so far as to threaten litigation:

The agenda item to which Jones referred would allot 90 minutes to the public comments period at the beginning of the council meeting, and give first dibs to those speaking to items on that night’s agenda. Those wishing to speak on topics not on the agenda could do so after the council had taken action on the agenda. But anyone who desires to speak, would be able to do so.

What would strike reasonable people as a modest change strikes Jones as an infringement on the 1st Amendment to merits litigation.

Furthermore, juxtapose Jones’ rhetoric with his actions – when the No on Measure L campaign held a press conference last year, Jones and other Measure L supporters deliberately disrupted the event to prevent their fellow citizens from expressing their views.

Later, Shakeel Syed, the executive director of OCCORD, similarly threatened legal action – but against something no one was proposing. OCCORD is a left-wing political advocacy group that functions as the community organizing arm of militant UNITE-HERE Local 11.

A number of people have criticized Moreno’s high-profile participation in UNITE-HERE’s decision to illegally shut down the intersection of Katella Avenue and Harbor Boulevard last Thursday – a media stunt aimed making the union look strong when they accepted an offer from the Sheraton Park Hotel.  Since Moreno is an Anaheim councilmember, the criticism is legitimate: he chose to deliberately violate a city law and help disrupt the city’s convention business.

However, to Syed’s thinking, such criticism goes much deeper and is much more sinister:

First, no one has suggested restricting anyone’s legal right to protest or picket on public sidewalks or otherwise engage in peaceable, lawful assembly. It’s strange that Syed would conflate a legal picket line with illegally shutting down a busy intersection and disrupting people’s lives – which he euphemistically calls “civic engagement in the streets.”  Most people would call it breaking the law.

Syed’s paean to free speech is even stranger given his own record of interfering with the free speech rights of those with whom he disagrees.  Last spring, a business coalition held a press conference in front of City Hall to announce their opposition to UNITE-HERE’s planned initiative to boost the minimum wage of certain Resort hotels to $18 per hour. Syed showed up with a group of union and OCCORD members and physically forced their way into the press conference,  waving their signs and literally shouting over press conference participants as they attempt to speak. Syed was the loudest and most obnoxious – and his goal was to physically prevent political opponents from expressing views with which he disagreed.

That is the anti-thesis of free speech. The behavior of Syed and his cohort was thuggish. And the reality of his track record makes his crocodile tears for free speech unsympathetic.

The behavior of the Syeds and Joneses and other progressive gadflies who’ve come to dominate the council chamber belies their rhetoric when it comes to free speech. They want to be able to say or do anything they want, but not only exhibit little interest in affording that liberty to those with whom they disagree – but heckle and shout-down them down.

20 comments

  1. Why was Councilman Jose Moreno was not arrested for participating in this travesty?!?

    • David Michael Klawe

      He was arrested, cited and then released. It will be up to the Orange County as to how to handle the case. Hopefully he will refer the case to a Judge for prosecution.

  2. David Michael Klawe

    As an Agenda Item, the city staff worked on the proposed changes, and consulted Robert Zapata to insure the changes were legal and proper under the Brown Act, the first amendment and matched what was being done at many other California governmental bodies.

    At Tuesday’s council meeting, my wife was heckled and even worse by the UNITE HERE supporters in attendance.

    It was my wife’s first public comment at the dais. She was very upset about the protest and wanted to speak her mind, as provided in the Brown Act.

    Two weeks earlier, Dr. Moreno, during the original discussion of the proposed changes clearly stated that no one should be heckled or intimidated from speaking at the dais. Ironically the people that came to praise Dr. Moreno ignored those comments and told my wife to Shut up, drown her out and other things to disrupt her speech and thoughts.

    I have thick skin and can handle things, but when you do it to my wife, well, I can find avenues to make her voice heard and louder than in council chambers.

    • Those hecklers make me sick, they only want to interrupt and intimidate. I’m proud your wife spoke. I already know how very intelligently you reciprocate, so I am looking forward to your response to those clowns. And Jose Moreno is included in that group. He’s nothing. Unless you consider a career politician puppet something.

      • David Michael Klawe

        I want my response to be positive and doing something good. So I have accepted a position on the S.O.A.R. Advisory Council, and help point out the positive benefits the Resort brings to the city in so many ways, including all the revenue that is placed in the city’s bank account. The city owned Convention Center is a big part of that economic engine, and why it is important to keep The NAMM Show calling its Convention’s home “Anaheim”.

        I want to move forward and make my voice heard in that fashion.

        That said, I know Deputy Chief Julian Harvey is doing a complete analysis of the event, including calculating the costs to the city. I will continue to push for that information to be made public, and to push the city to explore its options to recoup those cost from the event organizers.

        As for Dr. Moreno, seems like the council wants to move forward, since he will continue to be District Three’s Councilperson. But I truly do hope that D.A. Todd Spitzer will decide to take his case to court, and in front of a Judge. And that Judge will come up with an appropriate penalty for his actions.

        And I do want to say that I do not want to restrict his right to free speech. Just to penalize him for breaking the law, as nobody should be above the law. He let only is a councilmember that makes law, but a professor at CSLB teaching our children. Both jobs should require him to set an example and follow the laws of the city and state.

        And as from my wife Lisa, I am glad she decided to speak, the words she spoke from the heart, and how she has gotten more involved in the community, including becoming a member of the West Anaheim Neighborhood Development Council’s BBQ committee, and volunteering at the Barton Park KaBOOM! build.

        We had our first date 15 years ago this week, which was at Disneyland, and so glad I decided to ask her to lunch. I got the best souvenir I could ever want!

  3. I do not admire many people.
    Kennedy was a sex and drug addict with his finger on the nuclear button.
    Carter was a brilliant man and great guy but lousy pres.
    Reagan did not like gays, traded arms for hostages and more crazy stuff.
    Good old Washington owned 317 slaves and was involved in a massacre of prisoners during the French Indian war that perhaps he started.

    Lincoln I guess? But what guy involved in a war like that leaves himself open for assassination he logically should have had 100 guards. If he had lived perhaps equality would have been resolved 150 years ago?

    Some say Churchill, I say what about the invasion of Turkey in WW1 – that was his idea.
    Gallipoli, ½ the invasion force was killed or injured and of course lost the battle.
    A man that could give a great speech and nothing more.

    It is hard to find people you really admire.

    Hey I really liked the documentary about Mohammed Ali and I admire that guy.
    Check out the Billy Crystal Mohammed Ali tribute 15 rounds.
    Just that a little Jewish comedian was his best friend says enough about the real man.

    I think Wes Jones is one of the people on my short short list of most admired.

  4. Walk the sidewalks, not block, and not the streets to protest causes. Act within the law, and witin your job’s duties and you or your activities won’t be in question. Why is it we pay for the services of a councilman who willfully breaks the laws of our city for publicity?

    Why is it free speech to allow people to drown out/intimidate those with opposing viewpoints?

    Kudos to Mayor Sidhu and the city council for changing and streamlining the process to be heard. I am sure that while doing so they will keep the Brown Act and our rights in mind. They know all are watching.

    The meetings need change.

  5. Where is Jose Moreno? Democrats are invited to our February meeting where speakers will include Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva and Anaheim City Councilmember Jose Moreno. You do not have to be a club member to attend. All Democrats are welcome!

  6. Rainforest Cafe Waiter

    Is Vern Nelson still the head of this club? Nice to know Anaheim Democrat’s are led by a 5 time convicted drunk.

  7. Isn’t Barton Park in District 3? Was Jose Moreno there?

    • David Michael Klawe

      No, it is District 2, Mayor Sidhu and Councilmembers Brandman and Faessel were in attendance, along with State Senator Ling-Ling Chang. Representatives from Congressman Lou Correa and State Assembly Sharon Quirk-Silva also were in attendance.

  8. DMK Thank you. Love Mayor Sidhu and new council majority and I commend your wife’s courage.

  9. As an Anaheim resident of 14 years, I have been bemused by the usual gadflies that appear at the Anaheim City Council meetings. Many of them are not even Anaheim residents — and the fact they are allowed to speak reflects well on local government. But when you apply your “nonsense” filter as you listen to their comments — and I have, all of them — sometimes there’s a nugget of truth that needs to be exposed. Those who want to speak deserve their 3 minutes of fame (or infamy). When you try to regulate expression there is always the danger of encouraging suppression. And kudos to Mr. Klawe’s missus — I thought she acquitted herself well.

    • David Michael Klawe

      I agree with 3 minutes, unless there are more than about 40 “Agenda Item” cards turned in at the start of the Public Comments period. In that case, cutting down to 2 minutes for everyone so the meeting doesn’t go past midnight. Remember the City Staff has to stay until the Agenda Items have finished, costing the city money.

      I do wish that speakers did have to state if they are a city resident, or live outside the city limits. But anyone wishing to speak should be allowed to, and as per the Brown Act, the Agenda Item speakers prior to the Consent Items, and General Comments after the main portion of the meeting.

      Also, Everyone that wishes to speak at the dais deserves to be treated with respect,, That means everyone for all points of view treating those with different points of view without exception.

      That includes remaining quiet so the council can hear the speaker, and also when returning to their seat.

      And Paddy, I made sure my wife Lisa read your comment, and it put a smile on her face. And I agree, she handled herself well, and the one “error”, she recognized it, and said she shouldn’t have done it when walking away from the dais, but she was responding to a very nasty comment spoken directly to her. That is her big regret, the other is she didn’t finish her prepared comments due to the clock.

  10. David and Lisa Klawe

    Here is my wife’s full prepared comments…

    Good evening Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmembers. My name is Lisa Klawe and I live in West Anaheim in District 2.

    First I would like to express my appreciation to the City of Anaheim, the Disneyland Resort, Anaheim YMCA, and Kaboom. My husband David and I participated in building the new playground at Barton Park and refreshing the school grounds. It was an amazing day. David and I primed and painted three picnic tables in the school colors, and with the help of some very talented Disney employees, decorated the tops with racecar tracks, tic-tac toe boards, some simple flowers and a butterfly. One table even got the school mascot, The Barton Bee. It was a very rewarding, if exhausting day, and it was heartwarming to see so many volunteers coming together to improve the park and make it accessible to all.

    My main reason for addressing the City Council this evening is my concerns with the protest staged by Unite Here Local 11 last Thursday evening, January 24th.

    The activity tied up traffic on two major thoroughfares – Harbor Blvd and Katella Ave for hours. I knew of the planned event and did not take my usual route to the gym westbound on Katella past the resort area. I did, however, make the mistake of thinking that Orangewood was far enough away and found my commute extended by 30 minutes due to the heavy traffic in the resort area. After the gym, David and I were to meet at Garden Walk for dinner, however it took me almost half an hour to get from Katella and Euclid to the east side of the resort area. We wound up picking up fast food on the way home instead of a nice dinner at one of the Garden Walk restaurants. Admittedly, this is a minor irritation, but multiply that irritation by the thousands of drivers that were stuck in that traffic.

    This was a pre-planned staged protest, known at least one day in advance. Anaheimblog.net called the stunt “a taxpayer-subsidized union negotiating tactic,” and quoted Anaheim Police Department spokesman, Sgt. Jeff Mundy, as calling the incident “a significant drain on police resources” as there were more than 50 officers at the scene as well support personnel and having the mobile command center there to process the arrests. In addition to the costs of the police resources, due to the shutdown of the intersection, Anaheim Resort Transit buses were rerouted. Which, I’m sure, cost ART, and the city, fare revenue, not to mention the costs of rerouting the buses.

    I would like, no love, for the City of Anaheim to bill Unite Here Local 11 for the costs that were incurred by the city for the response to the protest. I would have thought that as this was a pre-planned event, that permits of some sort would have been required, and I would certainly hope that the city would have denied the permits due to the timing of being at rush hour on the opening day of the county’s largest annual convention, the National Association of Music Merchants. It seems to me that not only should Unite Here be billed for the costs, but also that some sort of fine could, and should, be levied against them. NO organization should be allowed to disrupt the city as Unite Here did on Thursday, no matter what the cause.

    I would also like to express my dismay that a City Councilmember participated in this fiasco and was arrested. As an elected official, he should uphold the laws of the nation and state, and the ordinances of the county and city which he represents. I do not feel that in showing his support for Unite Here Local 11 in this way, he represented the majority of his constituents.

    Thank you for opportunity to express my views and for your attention.

  11. Perfectly said. I may add that they should have been processed as if they were anyone else. No special treatment and every possible law applied. Why did we make it easy for them? My only thought is it was to control the situation as much as possible and minimize hurting our relationship with NAMM.

    If they are not held responsible for blocking the sidewalks and streets, they will be back. Stick to the law and our city’s residents and visitors will become more lawful.

    I agree that it was shameful that a city councilman took part in this illegal activity.
    He should not be serving the city if he can’t be law abiding.

    I am sorry you were mistreated while speaking. Thank you for taking the time to go to the meeting and for having the courage to stand up in an hostile environment. You spoke what most living in Anaheim feel, well done.

  12. Hey David, did somebody go out of his way to apologize to your wife for his friends’ bad manners? Just catching up on this blog, and with all your comnents I thought that might have been mentioned.

    Have a nice day.

    • Vern, STOP speaking in tounges.

      WE ARE NOT IN JR. HIGH!

      Very clearly, individuals criticized, offended and were generally unnecessarily rude to Mrs. Klawe. To suggest that you or one of your cabal tried to do damage control on the actions of another MEANS NOTHING.

      If I may be frank, you behave vile animals, you and your wife incite unrest. Nobody cares that you or your ilk have a point when you react by simply disrupting things for the sake of attention.

      A better idea would to be polite, professional and respectful and discuss whatever issue it might be.

      • Yeah, I do that. And I apologized to Mrs. Clawe for about two or three of my allies (I don’t know who) being rude. And she did say that meant a lot to her. Just thought David might mention it.

        Carry on (yawn…)

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