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Thank you, Marcy Burstiner, for covering my free speech lawsuit against the City of Arcata for its (ironically named) Aggressive Panhandling Ordinance (Media Maven, June 7). I don't see how Arcata can suggest that the simple act of holding up a sign, which is the most passive form of panhandling, can qualify as aggressive; and I object to restrictions on speech based on content (as Ms. Burstiner pointed out, you can hold up a sign to advertise or sell something but not one asking for a handout).

I think it's important for people to consider that if you believe in the protection of free speech and in defending our Bill of Rights, then you need to be willing to defend the rights of people you don't agree with, or find annoying. Or, in the case of the ACLU defending the Nazis' right to march in the predominantly Jewish town of Skokie, Ill., even people you find repulsive.
As Voltaire stated, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Both my lawsuit and Janelle Egger's lawsuit against Humboldt County for its ordinance restricting protests on courthouse property are being supported in part by the Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund, of which I am a member. We welcome your support, and I encourage anyone wishing to contribute to help fund these cases, and our overall efforts to defend civil liberties in Humboldt County, to visit us online at HCLDF.org.

Richard Salzman, Arcata


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