Obama as Hitler at MVA? It's legal
A reader called in to complain that a pair of people associated with fringe figure Lyndon LaRouche set up a table just outside the door of the Motor Vehicle Administration office in Westminster Wednesday adorned with a poster of President Obama sporting a Hitler-style mustache.
The woman who spotted the poster, a Republican and military wife who clings to such quaint concepts as civil discourse and respect for the commander-in-chief, said she was offended by the portrayal and wondered whether the LaRouche people had a right to do what they were doing when they were clearly on state property.
"If I want to go to a political rally, I expect to see such things but not when I turn in my plates," said the caller, who declined to give her full name because of her husband's job.
According to MVA spokesman Buel Young, the LaRouche folks were entirely within their rights. It seems that a LaRouche-affiliated group went to court some years ago and sued successfully for the right to air their views on MVA property.
Now the MVA has a procedure under which any group that wants to spread its message can apply to the agency's Office of Risk Management for permission to disseminate its views on agency property outside MVA offices. According to Young, the LaRouche people have been scrupulous about following the rules during recent appearances at MVA offices around the state.
"We do not control their message," Young said.
That's the First Amendment at work, folks.
Here are the rules these groups must abide by. If they are in violation, you have every right to complain.
We agree to abide by the following restrictions:
1. These activities shall be confined to the designated sidewalk areas of the facility.
MVA will designate locations where the activities can be conducted so as not to
obstruct or hinder the ingress or egress of persons using the MVA buildings,
obstruct or hinder pedestrian routes, or unreasonably disturb the public in the
course of normal business activity on MVA property.
2. The number of participants may be limited to a number reasonable under the
circumstances to preserve safety, order and ingress, egress and public pedestrian
3. These activities shall be conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner. Any person,
group of persons, or organization participating in the activity may not:
a) impede or physically touch the public or pedestrians using or transmitting MVA
property without their consent;
b) engage in demanding, harassing, threatening, or intimidating conduct;
c) engage in disorderly conduct;
d) create loud and unseemly noises;
e) ignite or maintain any open fires;
f) profanely curse, swear or use obscene language; or
g) unreasonably disturb the public in the course of normal business activity.
4. Any person, group of persons, or organization conducting the activity may operate
from a table provided a sign or placard informs the public that the MVA has no
connection whatsoever with the organization or it's activities.
5. Any person, group of persons, or organization conducting the activity shall be
responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of MVA property within it's immediate
confines and for removing all litter attributable to their activities. They shall
furthermore be responsible for any damage to any MVA property, or to any real
or personal property caused by their activities.
6. Pamphlets, handbills, leaflets, signs, placards, posters, collection boxes or containers,
any similar material, may not be left unattended.
7. Any person, group of persons, or organization conducting activities shall apply for
approval by completing this form and filing same in advance with the Office of Risk
Management and Safety (fax 410-424-3068). Blank forms can be obtained by calling
410-768-7069 or 410-768-7449.