That’s why we can’t have nice things….

The City of Escondido, California, had to pay $20,000 to settle a First Amendment claim.

The Center for Social Advocacy (CSA) used to have a contract with the city worth about $26,000 a year to provide fair housing services to Escondido. The organization published an opinion piece in its newsletter criticizing the city, so the city cancelled the contract.

The op-ed piece, written by Bill Flores, the then director of administration for El Grupo, a consortium of Latino rights groups, begins: “The City of Escondido has earned the dubious reputation of being one of the most bigoted and racist cities in the United States.” (source)

David Blair-Loy, legal director of the ACLU’s San Diego chapter, reported that city officials admitted that the cancellation was due to the editorial, not dissatisfaction with services the CSA provided. (source)

The ACLU took up the case, and the city settled before suit was filed.

“The government can’t punish contractors because it doesn’t like what they say,” said Blair-Loy. “The city had no complaints about CSA’s services. It just didn’t like seeing a critical opinion piece in the agency’s newsletter.” (source)

4 Responses to That’s why we can’t have nice things….

  1. metasonix says:

    And they’re right. Escondido has a history of racial discrimination that goes back decades. It’s been a leader in the concept that Hispanics should generally be treated like illegal immigrants.

    It was also the original hometown of the Aryan Nations and the Liberty Lobby.

    • Scott Jacobs says:

      But you know what?

      If the city doesn’t like the idea of contracting for services from an organization that talks crap about them, then they are free to not continue the contract.

      The city isn’t saying “you can not speak as you wish”, just “We’re not going to be paying you money while you speak however you wish”.

      Maybe I’m just simple, but that doesn’t sound like censorship to me.

      • Clint says:

        It’s not censorship if they don’t take you on. It is censorship if you are taken on, and they then fire you because of it. Maybe you’re just too simple to understand the difference.

  2. madrocketscientist says:

    My understanding is that cancelled the contract for the specific reason of speech they didn’t like. If that is the case, they 1) broke a contract, instead of just failing to renew it, and B) did so in retaliation of free speech, which, since this is a government agency & not a private actor, is a big no-no. Remember, governments do not have rights, they have powers.

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