Posts Tagged ‘unconstitutional’

San Francisco’s Proposed Ban on Aerial Advertising is Just Asking for Litigation – Lots and Lots of Litigation

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

And I’ll tell you, the ban, if enacted, will work about as well as our ban on “rolling billboard” trucks, which is not well at all.

Hello, BOS? You can’t rely on the Honolulu decision. Well, maybe technically you can.*

But if they millionaires of SoMA are crying, I guess you all should pass whatever unconstitutional crap you want, what do I care.

As seen (over Union Square) (and heard only a little) yesterday, the scourge of millionaire condo owners everywhere:

Click to expand

*But not IRL, not really.

Phil Ting and Leland Yee Throw Down Against the BART Police Cell Phone Shutdown Policy

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

[UPDATE: The latest video communique from Anonymous, or somebody.]

I’ll just say for the record that, fundamentally, what BART did with their cell phone repeaters on Thursday wasn’t unconstitutional. (Of course, I think their actions this past week were stupid - the representatives of BART are behaving in a ham-fisted fashion, oh well.)

However, this bit here from Friday’s hastily-released release is overbroad:

“No person shall conduct or participate in assemblies or demonstrations or engage in other expressive activities in the paid areas of BART stations, including BART cars and trains and BART station platforms.”

Rest assured, passengers can legally engage in at least some expressive activities (like wearing a red shirt to represent the blood of dead passenger or saying, “Gee waiting for BART can be a pain,” for example) in the paid areas of the stations regardless of what BART’s PR hacks say. (Don’t you have lawyers on staff, BART? So why don’t you let them formulate your legal policies instead of having a formerly ink-stained wretch writing copy? Just asking, Bro.)

Comes now Zusha Elinson of the The Bay Citizen:

“Ironically, it was BART’s chief communications officer Linton Johnson who has taken credit for the idea to shut off service. Johnson told The Bay Citizen that he suggested it to BART police after a protest on July 11 snarled the evening commute. Demonstrators delayed trains and even tried to climb on top of one as part of a protest against the BART police shooting of Charles Hill on July 3. Johnson said that the police didn’t have to take the idea, but they did, and he bristled at criticsms leveled from passengers and civil libertarians. “It is an amenity. We survived for years without cellphone service,” Johnson said. “Now they’re bitching and complaining that we turned it off for three hours?”

Ooh, the B-Word (or gerund or whatever.) Is this the definition – acting like an overbearing woman? (Sometimes PR people get in trouble for not doing enough and sometimes they get into trouble for doing too much. I think we’re at the point when the PR person is doing too much.)

Now, here’s what your Senator Leland Yee has to say about the matter:

“Yee Blasts BART for Cell Phone Decision - Senator urges FCC to investigate, calls on BART Board to take action

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) blasted BART officials for shutting off cell phone service earlier this week within downtown stations to prevent protests. Yee called on the BART Board of Directors to take immediate action to prevent a repeat incident in the future. Yee also plans to contact the Federal Communications Commission to request an investigation on the constitutionality of the decision.

“I am shocked that BART thinks they can use authoritarian control tactics,” said Yee. “BART’s decision was not only a gross violation of free speech rights; it was irresponsible and compromised public safety. Riders need cell phone coverage to call on police and medical personnel during an emergency. How many more lives need to be put at risk because of inappropriate actions by BART officials?”

On Thursday, BART switched off the transit system’s underground cell phone network throughout downtown San Francisco after they learned individuals were planning to coordinate a protest using mobile devices. The people were protesting a July 3 fatal shooting by BART police.

“The BART board should take immediate action to prevent a repeat of such a blatant disregard for the needs and rights of riders,” said Yee. “I plan to also contact the Federal Communications Commission to investigate this appalling incident.”

And here’s a bit from Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting:

Censorship Is Not a Public Safety Strategy - BART Shuts Off Cell Phone Service to Prevent Protest

By: Phil Ting

The news from BART keeps getting worse and worse. We learned this morning that not only did BART turn off cell signals in its Civic Center, Powell Street and 16th Street Stations on Thursday evening to try and prevent a protest – the decision was made at the very highest staff level of the agency.

Censorship is not, and should never be, a public safety strategy. We take BART leadership at their word about motives; they say they were worried about a crush of passengers and protesters on a dangerously crowded platform.

But the proper response to such a concern was to send BART police, and SFPD if necessary, to safeguard passengers and protesters. The decision to cut off cell service in order to prevent the protests violates fundamental principles of our democracy.

Violating Fundamental Principles of Democracy

At Reset San Francisco, our view is that the more voices heard, the more vigorous our democracy. Peaceful protest is a way people who are not being heard can be heard – and that feedback, as uncomfortable as it can make the politicians, is absolutely necessary to improve government.

Of course we must promote peaceful protest, not dangerous actions like rushing a crowded train platform. But we don’t enforce laws by violating our most fundamental principles of free speech. Censorship is not, and must not become, a public safety tool.

Across the world, pro-democracy protestors are using social media to spark peaceful protests. And across the world, governments that fear their own citizens are trying to block the Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and SMS texts that give everyday people a new power to be heard.

It is sad that in our own city, and from one of our own government agencies, censorship was used to block protest.

Make Your Voice Heard – Right Now

We need to make sure this never happens again. Please be heard on this important issue. Below are the names of all the BART Board of Directors and an email address to contact them. Indicate whether you are contacting the full Board or an individual Board Director. I know many of them are as appalled by this as we are. But please email them now – and give them the support and strength they need to stop the policy of censorship immediately.
BART Board of Directors

Gail Murray – District 1
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Joel Keller – District 2
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Bob Franklin – District 3
bobfranklinbart@aol.com

Robert Raburn – District 4
robertraburn@covad.net

John McPartland – District 5
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Thomas Blalock – District 6
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Lynette Sweet – District 7
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

James Fang – District 8
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Tom Radulovich – District 9
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

On It Goes.

The Anti-Circumcision Activists of San Francisco are NOT Giving Up: Check Out “Jews for the Rights of the Child”

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Those “Jews for the Rights of the Child,” you know, part of the crowd behind the unconstitutional* effort to ban circumcision in the 415, are not giving up, despite, you know, their recent setback.

I say that because this oddly-worded poster in the Western Addition has just been replaced with two much better looking posters that transmit pretty much the same message.

Click to expand

Anyway, this effort has not ended – you’ve been warned.

Welcome to our new organization, Jews for the Rights of the Child.
We have been Jewish Intactivists for many years, passionately working to educate people on the harms of circumcision. For example, we encourage people to replace the harsh Brit Milah with a peaceful naming ceremony such as Brit Shalom.
When the San Francisco MGM Bill was proposed, we both realized that we too would like to see the circumcision of unconsenting minors actually OUTLAWED — yes, even for Jews (and Muslims etc).
We realize this is a radical position.
We will be writing about how and why we each came to this position, and what we are doing about it.
Meanwhile check out Beyond the Bris and other Jewish Intactivist sites.
Check back soon!
Brian Levitt
Tina Kimmel
July 2011″

On It Goes…

*IMO. See Comments.

The Quasi-Unconstitutional Prayer Book Cross of Golden Gate Park

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Just look at this monstrous cross, complete with rune grafitti, on govmint land in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park:

“The Prayer Book Cross was erected in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in 1894 as a gift from the Church of England. Created by Ernest Coxhead, it stands on one of the higher points in Golden Gate Park. It is located between John F. Kennedy Drive and Park Presidio Drive, near Cross Over Drive. This 57 ft (17 m) sandstone cross commemorates the first use of the Book of Common Prayer in California by Sir Francis Drake’s chaplain on June 24, 1579.” 

Didn’t the City have to sell off the similar Mount Davidson Cross (Yelp-rated) after a lawsuit back in the 1990s? Yes it did.  So, do you think the Prayer Book Cross creates an “appearance of governmental endorsement of religion” as well, particularly considering that we’re living in a post-Everson world?

Do these trees help to make this cross kosher, cause fewer people see it? Potentially, yes. Click to expand:

IMG_6293 copy

In other words, does the City’s ownership and maintenance of Prayer Book Cross violate the No Preference Clause and the Ban on Aid to Religion Clause of the California Constitution and the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution?

Or maybe it’s all good, because the  cross communicates “primarily non-religious messages” ala the shorter Mount Soledad Cross down in Fun Diego County? This is a close call.

Read all about the Mount Davidson case here, where the  United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit lays down the law. It’s pretty accessible.

IMG_6295 copy

You see it on the right here, as seen back in the day, during the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. Electric Tower at Night, with Search Light on Prayer Book Cross in Golden Gate Park:

I0015220A copy

The PB cross was a big deal back in the 1800′s, even making the New York Times.

But should it be on government land today?

Just asking…

Presented to Golden Gate Park at the opening of the Midwinter Fair, January 1, A. D. 1894, as a memorial of the service held on the shore of Drake’s Bay about Saint John Baptist’s Day, June 24, Anno Domini 1579, by Francis Fletcher, priest of the Church of England, chaplain of Sir Francis Drake, chronicler of the service. Gift of George W. Childs, Esquire, of Philadelphia. First Christian service in the English tongue on our coast. First use of the Book of Common Prayer in our country. One of the first recorded missionary prayers on our continent. Soli Deo sit semper gloria.”

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Acts to Prevent Sex Discrimination in Health Care

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed a lawsuit to prevent gender discrimination in health care premiums. 

Read about how the individual health care market fails women here. And read all about today’s suit below.

Dennis J., at it again:

Herrera Challenges Constitutionality of
Insurance ‘Gender Rating’ in California
Insurance Industry Practice of Charging Women Up to 39% More
for Health Care Coverage Called Discriminatory, Unconstitutional
SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 27, 2009) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed
suit to strike down provisions of state law that permit gender rating, a
practice by health insurers and health care service plans that can force
women to pay a significant premium or price differential based solely on
their gender. The 13-page pleading filed in San Francisco Superior Court
this morning alleges that such rating practices by health insurers deny
women their right to equal protection under the California Constitution,
and asks the court to declare the discriminatory laws void and enjoin state
officials from enforcing them.
Today’s lawsuit makes good on a Dec. 18 notice of intent Herrera sent to
California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., Insurance Commissioner
Steve Poizner and Department of Managed Health Care Director Lucinda Ehnes
informing them of the City’s plans to file the constitutional challenge.
On Jan. 14, State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced legislation
to prohibit gender rating by health insurance companies in California,
which could, depending on the outcome, obviate Herrera’s legal challenge.
“Women who are priced out of private health coverage by insurance
companies’ discriminatory practices are often forced to rely on public
hospitals and clinics instead,” said Herrera. “So, gender rating isn’t
simply unfair to women — it’s unfair to all taxpayers who are forced to
subsidize health insurers’ discriminatory pricing schemes. I am grateful
to Sen. Leno for his leadership in pursuing a legislative fix that can
hopefully remove the need for the City’s lawsuit. But it is clear we need
to act now to end a practice that imposes an unfair and unconstitutional
burden on too many women in California.”
“During these difficult economic times, when more women are losing their
jobs, and employers are likely to cut their health care plans, we must
protect fair access to health care in the individual market,” said Sen.
Leno. The Senator’s bill, SB 54, to end gender rating in California, could
be heard in the State Senate as early as February.
Both Herrera’s litigation and Leno’s legislation apply only to individual
health care service plans and policies; employer-sponsored plans are
already prohibited from charging men different premiums than women in
California. A report by the National Women’s Law Center issued last
September found that California women under the age of 55 pay up to 39
percent more for insurance than men. The study looked at insurance coverage
for women at ages 25, 40 and 55.