Wilkes Barre and Dorrance Protests To Protect Free Speech

Some causes often effect those on various sides of a debate and this is one of them. There is a strange trend in PA of cities trying to levy a fee for protesting, demonstrating, holding political rallies or even a prayer vigil. I think we can all agree that this should not happen.

Daniel Smeriglio has taken the fight to the city council of Wilkes Barre with success and will now go to Dorrance to do the same. Though I don’t agree with his views on immigration I do agree we must not let our rights be taken away.

Ladies and Gentlemen,Yet again we are dealing with a city council that still just doesn’t get it! We will never stand for any limitations and restrictions on freedom of speech! Wilkes Barre they are trying to limit the public’s response time at meetings and to charge a fee for peaceful assembly! We will not let that go and now Dorrance has become our next target! Everyone please know that we will do everything in our power to go after these individuals that are imposing and infringing on our God given rights as Americans! We can change the way things are going by doing one very important action, we need all of you out there to bombard the city hall of Dorrance with phone calls of disapproval with their newest form of oppression! They are supposed to represent the will of the people and yet again, as soon as election time is over they no longer care what we the people have to say! This has to be stopped at once and we have the power in which to do so, the question is are you willing to take a stand with us for our rights as americans? I already know that you are so people the time has come to go 100% reactionary and to call the Times Leader of Wilkes Barre PA and find the numbers for the township of Dorrance and to start making calls and to let your voice be heard with no limitations! I urge you all to stand up and to speak out at once and to put a stop to this oppressive trend before it really takes off! Thank you all for your time.

Sincerely,
Daniel Smeriglio

Here are some links to stories about what’s happening in the state which hosts the liberty bell.

Muzzling public’s input delivers wrong message – Times Leader
March 5, 2008

AN UNFORTUNATE TREND is taking shape in Luzerne County, and it smacks in the face of the democratic process. As caretakers of an institution rooted in the First Amendment, it makes us want to scream.

First, Wilkes-Barre City Council was considering levying a fee for people staging public protests. Thankfully, that measure has been put on hold and the American Civil Liberties Union is weighing in.

Now to the south in Dorrance Township, the board of supervisors enacted a resolution that severely limits free speech at township meetings. Specifically, the regulation called “Resolution No. 1 of 2008” restricts public participation to township citizens and puts a 10-minute cap on township residents’ right to speak out.

Here is part of the resolution they’re trying to pass:

Resolution No. 1

• Only Dorrance citizens/taxpayers or their legal representatives can speak at meetings.

• It allows two comment sessions. Citizens can comment on agenda items when the meeting begins. An open public comment period will be held at the end of the meeting.

• A citizen’s comment is limited to five minutes per session.

• Special township meetings have only one comment period.

• There will be no question-and-answer sessions.

Keep speech free, city council told – The Citizens Voice
BY DENISE ALLABAUGH
STAFF WRITER
02/29/2008
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WILKES-BARRE — A crowd of different groups with different beliefs who packed city council chambers Thursday night all agreed on one thing: free speech should be free.

Members of Voice of the People USA, a pro-First Amendment and anti-illegal immigration activist group, began the protest for the right to protest outside city hall. They later addressed city council to oppose a proposed ordinance that council passed on first reading on Feb. 14 which would require people obtain a $20 fee for a permit for a protest, a demonstration, a political rally or even a vigil or religious service.

They were joined by Wilkes-Barre residents, including Joe Godlewski and Bob Shortz, who held a sign reading “Just say no.” Eugene Malesnik came from Jim Thorpe to join the protest while playing music and holding a flag and a sign supporting the First Amendment.

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