Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Freedom of Speech!

There's nothing so precious as our right of Freedom of Speech. One of the best examples is the ability for people to speak before the Fond du Lac City Council. Recently we've heard from people on both sides of issues concerning the city's water, the humane society and proposed expansion of F-Dock.

There is a small problem with perception however. Those who sign up to speak are asked to give their addresses. However some don't give the full address for example on the water issue a number of people spoke from the Town of Taycheedah and while they have the right to do so those watching the proceedings on television at home might think they are watching another resident of the city express their point of view. We've also seen people from Madison and Milwaukee weigh in on issues. Again they have the right to do so, but sometimes they have ulterior motives and are using the podium to get across their own political self interests.

The Fond du Lac School District's recent referendum is another example of being able to speak your mind, which both sides did. The opposition talked about higher teacher salaries and benefits. District officials offered to sit down with those residents after the referendum and talk about it. Whether that will happen or the concerns brought up were again just so much howling at the wind remains to be seen.

The Internet and blog sites also recently heated up 1st Amendment talk when a blog site was temporarily shut down because of possibly libelous and sexually explicit comments made about a Winnebago County official. As one free speech expert put it "It's a whole new ball game." Anyone with an opinion can express it on a blog site, which I just did.

It's great to see people express their opinions, but as I've learned from my job you should try to see both sides of an issue. That can lead to compromise and sometimes fixing the very problem you're concerned about.