Saturday, January 05, 2008

Note from Coleen Rowley

While plenty of peace groups may have FBI agents in their midst, I doubt they're as proud of theirs as we are of ours. Coleen Rowley, freewayblogger, FBI agent and one of Time Magazine's Persons of the Year for 2002, sends us this summary of her recent meeting with the Minnesota Highway Patrol:

"Our meeting today with three commanders of the Minnesota Highway Patrol, facilitated by ACLU Attorney Teresa Nelson went just great! The three commanders acknowledged our rights under Minnesota law to display banners from pedestrian overpasses as long as we do not block pedestrian traffic; affix the banners to the fencing; or drop any item off into the traffic below from an overpass. We advised we do none of these things and that it has been our policy to accommodate public safety by canceling the bannering when driving conditions are not good (i.e. when it snows).

Even better, the Highway Patrol is going to ensure that all their officers and dispatchers are reminded of this policy allowing us to exercise our first amendment rights without any further harassment."


Anonymous said...

A success in some ways, but consider this: you have now legitimized the "illegality" of affixing signs to fencing, which is what most freewaybloggers do. A group of people holding a banner is a strong showing, but one person putting up hundreds of signs can get the message out to 100 times more people.

Freewayblogger said...

Point well taken. While I consider the "affixing" clause to be a direct infringement of my civil right to reach as-many-people-as-I-damn-well-please, I do understand why they have it: poorly affixed and unattended signs, people going up there with welding torches, etc. etc.

I'm sure serial posting like I do violates a couple of laws here in California, but until someone decides to arrest me it doesn't really matter. If the local ordinances supercede the First Amendment in court somehow, then so be it. I see it as our job to push the envelope as far as we can when it comes to civil rights - free speech especially - both in and out of court.