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FW: To Censor Or Not To Censor?

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  • diane guilfoy
    Jack, I didn t read Don s article as relating to your letter at all. More likely to Wayne s. As far as GRF policy goes, I have no problem with restricting
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 17, 2013
       
      Jack,
       
      I didn't read Don's article as relating to your letter at all. More likely to Wayne's.   As far as GRF policy goes, I have no problem with restricting letters about candidates for the very reasons Don mentions.  If there could be an equitable way to limit letters and prevent inaccurate info about candidates being disseminated, I'd be for it.
       
      One part of the policy I strongly object to is negating access by candidates themselves, to discuss current issues.
       
      I also don't like the sentence below:
       
      "Any images, comments or statements which are either only remotely related to, or clearly unrelated to, official business or which are intended to, or might otherwise, influence the election should be redacted either in whole or in part."
       
      That sentence gives GRF far too much leeway to stifle any discussion on particular issues, to the detriment of a candidate or to residents in general.  Who determines what "intent" is?
       
      Diane Guilfoy
       
       

      To: IRVinforms@yahoogroups.com; yourrossmoor@yahoogroups.com
      From: jackayarcher@...
      Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2013 17:14:55 -0700
      Subject: [IRVinforms] To Censor Or Not To Censor?

       
      Don Liddle's defense of GRF policies concerning letters to the News generally, and anything ("letters, articles or advertisements") concerning candidates for GRF or Mutual offices during an election, requires a response.

      First, the length of letters per se is not an issue.  A limit of 250 words for letters published in the News on any topic is not unreasonable.

      The circumstances surrounding the letter I submitted to the News (March 27th), however, demonstrate how the current policy may be used to support official GRF views (perhaps, I hope, not shared by all directors) while denying a resident the opportunity to express "unofficial" views.  A letter of 250 words provokes an official reply, published on the front page, of more than 2200 words, purporting to state the "law" and "facts" but containing obvious legal and factual errors, while an appropriate reply is prohibited.  That is an act of censorship.

      The issues raised by my letter, and the even broader issues raised by the GRF article, have now all surfaced in the election.  At this point, no candidate may have a letter or article published in the News concerning these issues, regardless of the interest that residents may have in such issues and the views of candidates about them.  It is an extraordinary policy that kicks in at the very instance that a significant issue emerges in an election in order to shut down discussion and debate.  Yet, that is the effect of the policy Liddle defends.

      For example, one of the issues that has emerged is clearly the question of censorship in the News, especially during elections.  No candidate may write an article as Liddle has done in the News and argue that existing policy is a form of institutionalized censorship.  In fact, the chances of a resident rather than a candidate being able to write an article making the same argument during the election is nil, if doing so is not prohibited outright by the current policy.  Yet, the official view, which is itself an issue in the election, may be defended.  That is another kind of censorship.

      The justifications for this policy are all deeply suspect.  We can't allow residents to express their opinions ("either for or against a particular candidate or issue", Liddle writes) because they might actually write such letters and articles and engage in debate regarding candidates and issues!  Well, that is supposed to be the reason we have elections.

      Elections bring issues to the surface, candidates tell us what their positions are re these issues, and residents make up their minds.  Or, it should work this way.   Not at Rossmoor, however, where the policy works to inhibit, if not prohibit, elections conducted in this democratic, open manner.

      Another justification invokes the "silent majority" too timid to engage in an election and likely to be intimidated by a small, vocal minority.  That justification I find especially interesting, offered as it is by a member of a previous Board majority that paid little or no attention to the views of 3500 residents concerning the event center project.  Talk about a "small group" dominating the majority!

      Finally, the vulnerability of the News and GRF to claims of libel because of something someone writes and the News publishes is offered yet again.  That vulnerability exists now, I believe.  How does the News deal with it?  It doesn't, or shouldn't publish such letters and articles.  And rightly so.  No one is suggesting that because we allow expression of different views during an election that an editor must abandon good sense and judgment.

      The idea that we can't have the right to express our views because someone might abuse such a right is one of the more suspect justifications for censorship.

      Now, there are sensible guidelines, found in the Davis-Stirling Act, that strike a reasonable balance between our interest in providing equal access to community media during a campaign/election and setting limits on expression.  Liddle is correct -- we don't have the right to say whatever we want at any time or place.  So, let's have reasonable limits on length of letters and articles that present a candidate's or resident's views.  Let's require that the content of such letters and articles be reasonably related to issues arising in the campaign/election.  But, let's not have editing or redaction by GRF officials or staff of such letters and articles.

      Finally, let's not continue the objectionable practice of allowing official views to be expressed during a campaign/election while prohibiting unofficial views.


    • DR WAYNE B LANIER
      I am of the same opinion that Don s article was aimed directly at my Censored objection to the vicious Censorship under Policy 601.2. He does so from a
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 17, 2013
        I am of the same opinion that Don's article was aimed directly at my Censored objection to the vicious Censorship under Policy 601.2. He does so from a protected and cowardly position. I cannot reply in the Rossmoor News because he, and others of the same shameful cant, have conspired to forbid it.

        Don's "reasons", as published in today's Rossmoor News [page 4A] are similar to the reasons the Soviets used during the Cold War to limit objections and silence dissent. He gets to reply to the article forbidden by his own Censorship. 

        Don states, "The purpose of not publishing letters, articles or advertisements concerning candidates for GRF or Mutual elections, except as set forth in the policy is designed to avoid disputes about equal access and to preclude groups or individuals from influence or 'buying' these elections." What utter, self-servidng rubbish. Don has set out to "buy" the election. 

        Don commissioned and sanctioned the published opinion of GRF Attorney Grafals. This was, clearly and transparently, a planned and plotted attempt to influence the election. Don has willfully and shamefully violated his own Policy to advance what he believes to be his own objectives in this election. Had he simply left this matter along, there would be no such public outcry against the GRF Board.

        What saddens me is that others, seem to agree. The letters chained below show this. 

        First Amendment Freedoms have been the subject of many fights in this country, but my examination of United States history yields few fights so un-American and cowardly as those that rage in Rossmoor today. 

        Even during Colonial times newspapers printed both side of the arguments, both in England and in the Colonies. During the Civil War, newspapers in both the North and the South published comments on the issues of that dreadful conflict. We came out of it the greater and more powerful unified nation. 

        What have we lost in these sleazy suburbs...? Basic freedom to speak...? 

        This whining about the problems of "disputes" during elections is shameful. Elections are, and should very well be the engines which grind dissent into compromise and agreement. This is the difference between America and the Nazis or the Soviets or the Islamic Dictatorships.

        You will, as long as you fail to object to this Censorship, be the slaves of GRF Board Bullies. GRF claims, per Don, to impose upon itself "equal access". If this be so, Don, then stand tall and permit Jack Archer Rossmoor News space equal to that of your hired legal goon Grafals.  

        At issue is not, as Don smugly urges, the number of letters allocated to Members. At issue is the very act to speak freely.

        W 

        On Apr 17, 2013, at 8:38 PM, diane guilfoy <dguilfoy@...> wrote:

         

         
        Jack,
         
        I didn't read Don's article as relating to your letter at all. More likely to Wayne's.   As far as GRF policy goes, I have no problem with restricting letters about candidates for the very reasons Don mentions.  If there could be an equitable way to limit letters and prevent inaccurate info about candidates being disseminated, I'd be for it.
         
        One part of the policy I strongly object to is negating access by candidates themselves, to discuss current issues.
         
        I also don't like the sentence below:
         
        "Any images, comments or statements which are either only remotely related to, or clearly unrelated to, official business or which are intended to, or might otherwise, influence the election should be redacted either in whole or in part."
         
        That sentence gives GRF far too much leeway to stifle any discussion on particular issues, to the detriment of a candidate or to residents in general.  Who determines what "intent" is?
         
        Diane Guilfoy
         
         

        To: IRVinforms@yahoogroups.com; yourrossmoor@yahoogroups.com
        From: jackayarcher@...
        Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2013 17:14:55 -0700
        Subject: [IRVinforms] To Censor Or Not To Censor?

         
        Don Liddle's defense of GRF policies concerning letters to the News generally, and anything ("letters, articles or advertisements") concerning candidates for GRF or Mutual offices during an election, requires a response.

        First, the length of letters per se is not an issue.  A limit of 250 words for letters published in the News on any topic is not unreasonable.

        The circumstances surrounding the letter I submitted to the News (March 27th), however, demonstrate how the current policy may be used to support official GRF views (perhaps, I hope, not shared by all directors) while denying a resident the opportunity to express "unofficial" views.  A letter of 250 words provokes an official reply, published on the front page, of more than 2200 words, purporting to state the "law" and "facts" but containing obvious legal and factual errors, while an appropriate reply is prohibited.  That is an act of censorship.

        The issues raised by my letter, and the even broader issues raised by the GRF article, have now all surfaced in the election.  At this point, no candidate may have a letter or article published in the News concerning these issues, regardless of the interest that residents may have in such issues and the views of candidates about them.  It is an extraordinary policy that kicks in at the very instance that a significant issue emerges in an election in order to shut down discussion and debate.  Yet, that is the effect of the policy Liddle defends.

        For example, one of the issues that has emerged is clearly the question of censorship in the News, especially during elections.  No candidate may write an article as Liddle has done in the News and argue that existing policy is a form of institutionalized censorship.  In fact, the chances of a resident rather than a candidate being able to write an article making the same argument during the election is nil, if doing so is not prohibited outright by the current policy.  Yet, the official view, which is itself an issue in the election, may be defended.  That is another kind of censorship.

        The justifications for this policy are all deeply suspect.  We can't allow residents to express their opinions ("either for or against a particular candidate or issue", Liddle writes) because they might actually write such letters and articles and engage in debate regarding candidates and issues!  Well, that is supposed to be the reason we have elections.

        Elections bring issues to the surface, candidates tell us what their positions are re these issues, and residents make up their minds.  Or, it should work this way.   Not at Rossmoor, however, where the policy works to inhibit, if not prohibit, elections conducted in this democratic, open manner.

        Another justification invokes the "silent majority" too timid to engage in an election and likely to be intimidated by a small, vocal minority.  That justification I find especially interesting, offered as it is by a member of a previous Board majority that paid little or no attention to the views of 3500 residents concerning the event center project.  Talk about a "small group" dominating the majority!

        Finally, the vulnerability of the News and GRF to claims of libel because of something someone writes and the News publishes is offered yet again.  That vulnerability exists now, I believe.  How does the News deal with it?  It doesn't, or shouldn't publish such letters and articles.  And rightly so.  No one is suggesting that because we allow expression of different views during an election that an editor must abandon good sense and judgment.

        The idea that we can't have the right to express our views because someone might abuse such a right is one of the more suspect justifications for censorship.

        Now, there are sensible guidelines, found in the Davis-Stirling Act, that strike a reasonable balance between our interest in providing equal access to community media during a campaign/election and setting limits on expression.  Liddle is correct -- we don't have the right to say whatever we want at any time or place.  So, let's have reasonable limits on length of letters and articles that present a candidate's or resident's views.  Let's require that the content of such letters and articles be reasonably related to issues arising in the campaign/election.  But, let's not have editing or redaction by GRF officials or staff of such letters and articles.

        Finally, let's not continue the objectionable practice of allowing official views to be expressed during a campaign/election while prohibiting unofficial views.




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