LA Councilman Bill Rosendahl
Local government priorities, in a nutshell.
A nice lawn, or a right to peaceably assemble for a redress of grievances… I guess it’s simply a matter of opinion which is most important. It’s pretty clear where most American (and others, such as Melbourne) municipal governments stand on this issue. Only Albany, NY, seems to be bucking the trend, but not because of their elected officials.
This is a very critical urban issue. Planners and Architects should be very focused on what is happening here, and should take stock of where they stand on these issues.
The statement reminds me of a panel I once attended in Philadelphia, where an elderly Edmund Bacon stood up, decrying the upcoming revision of his plan for Independence Mall, and shouted, “I mourn for the loss of those trees!”
Sadly, I don’t recall which principal from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson replied, “I mourn for the loss of the neigborhood you destroyed to plant them.”
(Click through to BCJ’s design. It returned some human scale to the mall, though it could never replace the neighborhood streets that Ben Franklin once walked.)
It almost seems quaint to read it now, doesn’t it? How long has it even been since that last bit mattered?
We had the GOP’s “Free Speech Zones” starting in 2000, but long before that we had laws passed to block sit-ins, laws passed to prevent gangs gathering, laws passed to keep people out of parks at night, all of which are being used now to break up protests. Congress didn’t pass them all, many came from states, cities, and small towns, all with their own varying purposes.
When we give up our Constitutional rights, they cease to matter. Have the last lines of the First Amendment simply atrophied from lack of use? Can they be reclaimed? The Constitution is supposed to trump laws, always, but interpretations are made with the understanding of how citizens (and judges themselves) come to view these words, despite the claims of so-called “originalists.”
Further, when our courts agree with the results of the laws, they are likely to side with them instead. Don’t believe it? See Bush v Gore. an embarrassing legal judgment for a desired outcome. The court has only gotten worse since.
- Henry Rollins, on the Occupy protests