Last Update: Thursday, May 23, 2013
|Council Should Reverse Itself on New Ordinance|
|Written by San Fernando Valley Sun|
|Thursday, 31 May 2012 03:23|
An open letter to the City Counsel of San Fernando,
I would like to respectfully ask that the City Counsel reconsider the "Rules and Decorum" ordinance passed on Monday, 5/21/2012. I feel this ordinance is a violation of the spirit of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. This ordinance is a city law that makes it an infraction, punished by a citation and a fine, if a citizen is removed from the counsel chambers. An infraction is a crime that goes on a person's record.
A police officer must swear oaths before being allowed to put on a badge. One of these oaths is to enforce the law fairly with respect to the dignity of all people. Everybody, from the most destitute, homeless immigrant to the wealthiest businessman is equal in the eyes of the law and entitled to the same respect and treatment by a police officer.
I agree that there are limits to what people may say in a public forum and I don't particularly approve of some slanderous attacks used by some citizens of San Fernando against the City Counsel. However, by far the worst attack came from the City Counsel against a citizen when a citizen was accused of being a child abuser. It is impossible for me to enforce this law fairly.
A police officer must also swear an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The First Amendment to the Constitution includes the Freedom of Speech. Our Constitution is a treasured document that gives us the freedoms that make our country great and sets us apart from many other countries in the world.
There is a big difference between the letter of the law and the sprit of the law. The City Attorney has found a way to justify this ordinance by the letter of the law; however, I feel strongly that it goes against the spirit of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
City officials must expect and tolerate some heated, boisterous behavior at public meetings. They must also tolerate opinions they don't agree with. Please revoke this ordinance because it will be used to selectively punish citizens who express contrary views. This is an abuse of power.
A police officer's duty is to protect lives and property and keep the peace. As a volunteer police officer for the City of San Fernando, I have and will come and protect the Counsel Members and citizens and help keep the peace at the City Counsel meetings. I have given and will give warnings to citizens who speak out of line, and even escort them out of the counsel chambers if necessary to keep the peace. However, this new law is unnecessary and unconstitutional.
Michael G. Yamane
Michael Yamane is a San Fernando volunteer reserve police officer.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 31 May 2012 03:29|