Free speechifying

Letters to the Boston editor, July 17, 2009

How can Dan Kennedy pick a list of people who trample freedom of expression without listing the mayor of Boston? Whether I agree or disagree with Kevin McCrea, Michael Flaherty, or Sam Yoon, I give them all the credit in the world for having the stones to run for mayor — and in the case of Yoon and Flaherty for giving up their “safe” seats in the City Council. Together, with McCrea, they have put in their time, effort, and own money in their chase to unseat the incumbent. It’s bad enough to have a mayor who thinks Dewey Square is named for Huey and Louie’s brother, but for Mayor Stonewall to repeatedly deny these people the right to debate the incumbent because he’s scared to stand, sit, or squat on his record is an utter disgrace. If that’s not trampling on their rights to be heard and a muzzling of their voices, I don’t know what is.

Mike Arnold

Dan Kennedy includes “free-speech stories in New England” compiled by (among other sources) “the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).” The subtitle is in part “a look at the dishonorable enemies of free speech and personal liberty in New England.” Why did this prominent media critic fail to reveal that the ACLU itself is censoring stories, expression, and speech by its own board members?

No recent phenomenon, this year national ACLU board member Wendy Kaminer published Worst Instincts about this multi-year abomination. It is a sign of the times that the ACLU is censoring speech and media critics omit reporting the fact.

Furthermore, in the Boston Police award Kennedy states: “The arrest [of Shepard Fairey] was clearly a publicity stunt, based on old warrants.” This is spinning the facts. Police in most jurisdictions do not chase down suspects for outstanding warrants. When a suspect is stopped by an officer, or if the suspect files a complaint with the police — e.g., they check for outstanding warrants. In this case, Fairey became an object of police attention due to the publicity of the suspect. Clearly this is a deceptive statement by Kennedy.

Roy Bercaw

Signs of the political times
Regarding your article “Asians for Yoon — or Maybe the Other Guy(s)”: I have seen a number of places that used to have one Yoon sign and now have three or four Menino signs. It’s pretty obvious some muscle was put into that. I’ve also noticed a number of Yoon and Flaherty’s signs coming down — and Menino signs put up in their place. Maybe our thin-skinned mayor really can’t stand the heat. It’s obvious he’s not a fan of debates, competition, or criticism.

Jessica Leonard

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