Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the April 2012 issue

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The New York Times of Frederick, Maryland, plots the excruciating development of a new constitutional right along Carroll Creek while executives of the Porta Potty industry can only wait:

The recent Occupy Frederick camp on Carroll Creek provided a reminder that the city didn't have a camping ordinance—and needed one.

Occupy Frederick was well-planned and organized, and it worked with local officials to ensure the encampment was safe, orderly and didn't run afoul of law enforcement or become a genuine nuisance to users of the city's linear park [sic].…

But Occupy participant Robert Fisher argues that being in some out-of-the-way park defeats the purpose of organized protests. If people don't see and/or hear the message, what's the point?

Creating overly stringent or prohibitively expensive requirements involving, for example, sanitary conditions could also have a stifling effect. Occupy Frederick used creekside restaurant and bar bathrooms until their owners asked them to stop. That's understandable, but Fisher asks, "If I'm not spending money in some capacity, does that mean I don't have the right to speak out?"

A restaurant might counter that he or she has the right to reserve bathrooms for paying customers. OK, but does this mean the new law must require that campers on Carroll Creek rent portable toilets?
(February 14, 2012)


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