The Broward Commission loves the First Amendment right of the people to assemble, as long as you get a permit two days in advance, don't bring tents or sound amplification, don't have more than the maximum people allowed, are out by 5 p.m., and don't outstay the maximum permit length of five days.
Well, at least that's what's going to be under consideration at tomorrow's commission meeting.
Occupy Fort Lauderdale voted last night to take another crack at a permanent occupation. That sort of permanent occupation would be specifically banned from county property under the current draft of the policy.
"Nothing in this policy shall be construed to create permanent public fora on County lands," the current draft says. "The County reserves the right to revise or repeal this policy at any time, including closing any or all of the designated public fora created by operation of this policy."
So here's how you'd get to express your right guaranteed by the United States Constitution:
A county administrator gets to decide the maximum number of people who can take part in your free-speech expression. At any time, that number could be changed.
Then you have to seek a permit in writing during regular business hours, two days in advance of your planned expression. You can apply no more than five days in advance.
You may request only a maximum of five days, and anyone requesting more time will have his or her application automatically denied.
By receiving a permit, you agree that the county is not responsible for any "loss, damages, or injuries proximately caused" by the permit holder or his or her associates.
If someone's already applied for a permit in a particular spot, the county may deny any further applications for that same location if they feel it can't accommodate any more groups.
The current language allows someone to bring folding chairs, tables no greater than 30 inches by 30 inches, as well as small food and beverage coolers, as long as they're for personal use only.
Any personal items -- which includes everything, even garbage -- have to be out of the area at 5 p.m. every day.
Then it places bans on affixing or attaching any signs to county property, bans sound amplification, tents, unsanitary conditions, and several other things.
That doesn't sound as good as the honorary piece of paper Occupy Fort Lauderdale received from the commission.
Those who don't like the Constitution being used as toilet paper are planning to show up at the commission meeting tomorrow at its regular 10 a.m. start time.
Click here for the commission's information regarding the discussed policy.
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