1 PUCKER ST.
W ARRENSBURG, NY 12885
December 28, 2006
Kevin Geraghty, Supervisor
RE: LETTER IN OPPOSITION TO ARTICLE VI SIGN STANDARDS
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Individual freedom is the goal of the Conservative Party. We who live in the Town of Warrensburg have the right to demand that our town government not intrude into our lives beyond the measure needed to maintain that order. We must demand that our local government limit itself to its proper constitutional role and leave our local government free to reflect the will of the people in their community.
We must reestablish a climate that is business friendly, and eliminate burdensome regulations that prevent society's entrepreneurial spirit from soaring. Businesses must be allowed to conduct their business in an atmosphere that lets the free market dictate what is best for it as long as the business is not promoting illegal behavior.
The foundation of all the Conservative Party programs is a belief in the free men and women of America. At this time, we refer you to the "U.S. Constitution" and "Bill of Rights", particularly freedom of speech and religious freedom, which comes in many different forms; shall not be abridged.
Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, Amendment I, Religious establishment prohibited. Freedom of speech, of the press, and right to petition. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Establishment. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment promotes religious freedom by limiting the influence of federal and state governments on religious thought and practice.
U.S. law takes a broad view of what constitutes "religion" for the purposes of these protections. The right to freedom of "thought" and "conscience" is thus in many circumstances subsumed within freedom of "religion". To the extent, it is not, the right of freedom of thought and conscience is protected by the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and opinion.
The First Amendment provides; "Congress shall make no law.. .abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press."The Fourteenth Amendment makes this limitation applicable to the States and their political subdivisions.
The Center for Individual Freedom refers to the following case:
In 1994, the US Supreme Court struck down a Missouri city law prohibiting signs at private residences. Margaret Gilleo ran afoul of the law when she placed a 24" X 36" sign in her front lawn with the words "Say No to War in the Persian Gulf, Call Congress Now" and an 8½" X 11" sign in the second-story window of her home that read, "For Peace in the Gulf."
A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision rejected the ordinance in City of Ladue v. GilIeo, writing that residential yard signs were "a venerable means of communication that is both unique and important."
The Court explained; "Displaying a sign from one's own residence often carries a message quite different from placing the sign someplace else, or conveying the same text or picture by other means... Residential signs are unusually cheap and convenient form of communication. Especially for persons of modest means or limited mobility, a yard or window sign may have no practical substitute... Even for the affluent, the added costs in money or time of taking out a newspaper advertisement, handing out leaflets on the street, or standing in front of one's house with a handheld sign may make the difference between participating and not participating in some public debate".
In December 2001, the city council of Ogden enacted an ordinance that provided in part that "vacant buildings and the premises be kept free of all interior or exterior signs, displays or graffiti." Ogden City initiated a criminal prosecution against Edwards for violating the new ordinance, seeking a court order requiring Edwards to remove his sign.
On February 26, the ACLU filed a counterclaim against the City arguing that the ordinance was too broad and unconstitutionally based upon the content of the message because it prohibited free speech activities on private property. Ultimately, free speech triumphs in Ogden as the Second District Court overturned the City's Ban on core political speech on private property .
"This decision is a victory for the free speech rights of private property owners. It sends a clear message to government entities that depriving property owners of the fundamental right to free speech on their own property is an intrusion into property rights and civil liberties that is unconstitutional and can not he tolerated," stated Janelle Eurick, Staff Attorney for the ACLU.
Additionally, we as citizen/ taxpayers, both individually and as officers of the Conservative Party will continue to practice what we preach.
In conclusion, consider this notice that no government officials, employees or agents of this town are allowed on our property without our expressed written consent. We are and we will continue to defend our private property rights. There will be No Trespassing. by anyone, on the Birkholz property.
THOMAS J. BIRKHOLZ, SECRETARY