The Civic Center One goes on Trial on Thursday

God knows we're on opposite ends of the political spectrum on the issue of Medical Marijuana. But I do support Bob on this issue. Bob Newland, aka "the Civic Center One" goes on trial for gathering petition signatures in the doorway of the Rapid City Civic Center. From my e-mail:
I go on trial for a Class 1 misdemeanor (max 1 year in jail and $1000 fine) Thursday morning at the Pennington County Court House (Rapid City SD). The charge is “failure to leave a premises after proper order given”. The crime? Asking a question while carrying a clipboard inside the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Public places – those built with money extracted in the form of taxes – should be open to political discussion. They should not be reserved as free-speech-banned zones for the convenience of well-to-do promoters who use these publicly-funded venues to line their pockets.

I think it’s great if people want to hold events, and that they risk capital to do so. But if they are doing so in a venue that would not exist but for the “contributions” made by everyone who buys a pack of gum in the city, then they also should understand that the rest of us have a right to petition for redress of grievances on those premises. Problem is, a Rapid City ordinance does not recognize that principle.

People carry on political discussions, cut deals, buy and sell things, write checks, and read books in the halls of the Civic Center during the stock show. I was asking people if they would like to help us put an issue on the ballot. If they said no, I left them alone.

I could have done that with no repercussions, if I had asked them to inconvenience themselves and walk outside to sign the petition. So the real crime being prosecuted is asking a question while carrying a clipboard.

Anyway, you’re invited to come to the trial. It starts at 8:30 am.

Bob Newland
Like I said, I'm dead set against his issue, and Bob rails on me about it. But the key here is that you can't just endorse liberty and the process for the things and people you like. If you limit liberty for one, you're limiting it for everyone. And I don't like my liberty limited.

So, I hope you can support him on his right of petition. Because the next ballot measure that's limited might be yours.


Anonymous said…
If he loses and has to go to jail, does that mean we won't see any comments from him for awhile?
Anonymous said…
I'll bet innocent little Bob Newland was "just asking a question" while he carried his clipboard. Do we think the arresting officer or the civic arena official would tell a different story of the Newland incident.

Remember this story from two weeks ago?

"Jim Shaw, 59, says the trouble started last Friday night after complaining that a vehicle was barreling through a crowd of pedestrians inside the fair's gates. The mayor claims he approached the driver and was confronted by the Iowa State Fair Patrol.

"The next thing I know, he throws me to the ground, handcuffs me like I'm some escaped murderer, and I was carried to the substation," Shaw says.

PP, you tend to pander to those on the other side of the aisle. C'mon, man! Wake up! Get the real dope on the story.
Anonymous said…
Bob Newland's guilt or innocence will be decided in a court of law and not here. Even people who promote marijuana use have rights.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire, 18th-century French writer
Anonymous said…
I think that is the same thing the African American lawyer for the ACLU said when he was fighting for the Ku Klux Klan's right to adopt a stretch of highway. He was just as conflicted as Voltaire.
Anonymous said…
Cheers to you, PP, for supporting Newland in this outrageous breach of his First Amendment rights in spite of your political differences.
Anonymous said…
Bob should ask for a delay in the matter hoping that Lance Russell gets elected b/c he'd probably be late to the hearing and the prosecutor would then just let Bob go. Just a thought.
Bob Newland said…
PP, I appreciate your post.

I'd reply to some of the other comments, but I find it quite difficult to bring myself to directly address folks who post anonymously, whether or not they support the constitution of the United States.
mhs said…
Anon #2, Barry Goldwater would turn over in his grave if he heard a small-government libertarian like Bob be referred to as being "on the other side of the aisle". The Republican party was founded on many of those same principles, don't forget, and, while Bob cleary doesn't associate himself with the GOP, some of his beliefs have been at the core of the party since Lincoln. Pay attention to somebody besides Sibby and Rush for a change, would 'ya?
Douglas said…

And that is a high compliment...and not in the high sense Bob might think appropriate for those suffering from cancer or other painful ailment.

We all should appreciate those who put their lives and fortune on the line for freedom...even those who are suckered into it in Iraq by a Liar in Chief or guys like Bob Newland. When are we going to get him into the SD Hall of Fame?

And "No" to the anonymous A-Holes, I have never used a mind-altering drug with the possible exception of coffee.
Bob Newland said…
"And I don't like my liberty limited." ['Cep' if it's the liberty to embark on a course of cannabis therapy to help me survive chemotherapy for cancer at my doctor's recommendation. Gotta draw the line some'eres when yer talkin 'bout sumpin as serious as liberty.] --PP

Sorry (not really), PP, couldn't resist.
Bob Newland said…
"...and not in the high sense Bob might think appropriate for those suffering from cancer or other painful ailment...." --Douglas

Interestingly enough, patients using cannabis as a therapeutic for wasting syndrome, nausea and loss of appetite from chemotherapy, spastic paralysis syndrome (muscle spasms in paralyzed limbs of the spinally injured), and migraine headaches almost universally say they do not notice a pyschoactive effect from smoking or eating cannabis.

They say it makes them feel better, but most act like they really don't know what you mean if you ask them, "But do you get high from it?"

Trying to explain cannabis's effect on those of us for whom it has a psychoactive effect (maybe just lucky enough that our pains and illnesses don't speak louder than our pitiful attempts at artificially-induced pleasure), trying to explain that to someone whose only frame of reference is alcohol or, say, a prescribed opiate, leaves us with inadequate analogies.

We can say, "It's kinda like right after two beers on an empty stomach," and it is,...kinda. Or we can say, "It's kinda like when the percocet first starts to kick in," and it is, ...kinda.

The trouble is, it's also not like those effects, too, partially because it leaves you in much better control of yourself than either two beers or a percocet -- better reaction time, better motor skills, and safer drivers (want a study showing that? I have four of them, done by gummint agencies).

"But," you protest, "but if it doesn't make you talk loud and swing (you wish) a big dick, if it doesn't make you stumble, if it doesn't make you drive too fast for conditions, why would you smoke it?"

Good question. Let's find out. Free the weed.
Anonymous said…
Some of us are not in a position to include our names on blogs because it could affect our jobs or the jobs of family members. We still have concerns, and blogs allow us to speak out.
Bob Newland said…
Well, then, take a nom de plume, so readers have some sense of continuity in picking a thread out of posts by seven different "anonymouses".
Anonymous said…
"Free the Weed"

This is why so many people are so hesitant to listen to Bob on medical marijuana.
Bob Newland said…
Now I know.
Anonymous said…
I am more sympathetic with Bob on the marydouwanna issue than the civic center free speech issue. There are public owned facilitites that are rented out to the public. The renters aquire some control over these facilities by paying the corresponding fees, during this time they are not really open to the "Public" for any use the "public" desires. When I rent the Rapid City indoor swimming pool for my childs birthday party, I dont think Bob has the "right" to come into the facility to solicit signatures for legalizing marijauna, or even "ask a question if he is not with my party. He is free to rent the facility also and have a petition party if he wants to, thats "free speech"
Bob Newland said…
Everyone else is free to come to the party and talk about anything they want to talk about. Even to have each other sign pieces of paper.

A publicly-funded building wouldn't exist for the convenience of event promoters but for the largesse of the taxpayers. The benefits of the building should not be limited to those who are simply paying extra rent in return for having a roof over the event.

The rest of us are still paying rent on the structure, too.
Douglas said…
To another anonymous,
Was the Rapid City Center closed to the public? Would your private smimming party be closed to the public.

Was Newland blocking access to something cowboy or whatever was the center rented?

The petition process for anything becomes meaningless if petition seekers can be blocked for little of any reason from any public event where large number or readily accessible possible petition signers are available.

Given a choice of saying no or yes to a petition signer on the street or in a shopping center or wherever, I would opt for that instead of having somebody banging on the door or barraging me with calls.

Oh, and good luck to Bob in court. His case is not just important to him, but to all of us who think constitutional guarantees of right to petition, freedom of speech, and freedom of press, and freedom of association should not be restricted mindlessly for all the right or wrong reasons.
Anonymous said…
The "public" can come up and knock on my door, but, I can put up a sign that says "no soliciting" that means they cant knock on my door for the pupose of soliciting. You are free to enter the party and talk just like anybody else, but you were soliciting signatures, thats the difference. I feel that when an organization or person rents a public facility they have a little discretion over the encroachments of other "solicitors" in the same facility.

The gideons cant even step on School (public) property to give Bibles away for free, they have to stand out on the sidewalk, and I am talking, after school is over for the day and the kids are leaving the building. Do you sympathize with the Gideons ? You are kinda like the Gideon of weed (which I am voting for by the way) Hope your first day in court went well Bob.
Bob Newland said…
"The "public" can come up and knock on my door, but, I can put up a sign that says "no soliciting" that means they cant knock on my door for the pupose of soliciting." --previous post

"The public" does not assist you in paying the rent on your house. "The public" (that's me) does pay the rent on the Civic Center during the time it is not being used to provide tons of money for vendors and propmoters.
Anonymous said…
If we cant rent the facilities for these "revenue generating events" because folks think like you do. We (the public) will be paying alot more to keep these buildings around -EMPTY-. Because they will be hard to rent if the rentors have no control over the activities that go on while they are renting them.

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