Keene City Council set to enter into chalking-free speech fray
Last week the proposal from City Councilor Randy L. Filiault to limit graffiti downtown came before the Municipal Services, Facilities and Infrastructure Committee.
“There’s no ordinance from graffiti in the streets and sidewalks, and that’s exactly what I’m asking for,” Filiault said Wednesday.
Free speech violation?
In a letter to the Keene City Council, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union said such an ordinance would be a violation of freedom of speech.
“While I certainly respect it, I have done research, and the Supreme Court does allow graffiti ordinances as long as you allow an alternative form of protest,” such as holding up a sign, Filiault said.
Opponents of the proposed ordinance have argued that it would ban children from playing hopscotch on the sidewalk.
“It is free speech. I think it’s tacky,” Freeman said. “With free speech can sometimes come some ugliness. … But we have to protect the people that say something ugly in order to protect free speech.”
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