Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition — this set of guarantees, protected by the First Amendment, comprises what we refer to as freedom of expression. That is the right that Tamarac Commissioner, Elvin Villalobos wants the City Commission to condemn.
Even though the Supreme Court has written that this freedom is “the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.” Without it, other fundamental rights, like the right to vote, would wither and die.
On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the Tamarac City Commission partially heard Villalobos’ argument on why www.TamaracPost.com should be condemned by his colleagues. This move is not just draconian, it is authoritarian – which further proves our theory about Villalobos. It validates our readers’ assertion that Elvin Villalobos wants to be Tamarac’s Dictator in chief. Villalobos continued his agenda item until the next regularly scheduled meeting because of “New Information” that he learned about. Well, let’s stay tuned folks… but for now…
Why would ‘Mini-Trump’ want to condemn our news site? Maybe the ‘harsh’ truth is that he does not respect Freedom of Expression. Maybe he feels our website provides a better understanding of why things are the way they are in this City.
We have made quite a few enemies because we print truths. Perhaps Villalobos should tell us these questions are improper:
Former Mayor Beth Talabisco, who was arrested on corruption charges and removed as Tamarac’s Mayor now rents a home from Tamarac Mayor Michelle Gomez?
Elvin Villalobos called his own wife fat. That they divorced each other and when his wife placed him on child support, Villalobos remarried her to stop the Child support claims?
Current Mayor Michelle Gomez says that arsenic poisoning is not a big deal?
Former Commissioner, Julie Fishman, collected $700 per month from the City of Tamarac for a Car allowance while not owning a car?
Or this one, Michelle J. Gomez supported Michael C. Cernech with the power of her vote amid an outcry from Tamarac residents to remove him after he was arrested on corruption charges?
The fact is Villalobos cannot stop us from reporting facts or opinions and he certainly cannot stop us from asking uncomfortable questions. According to the ACLU, free speech rights need constant, vigilant protection. Should the Internet be subject to any form of government control? In answering this question, the history and the core values of the First Amendment should be our guide.
During our nation’s early era, the courts were almost universally hostile to political minorities’ First Amendment rights; free speech issues did not even reach the Supreme Court until 1919 when, in Schenck v. U.S., the Court unanimously upheld the conviction of a Socialist Party member for mailing anti-anti-war leaflets to draft-age men. A turning point occurred a few months later in Abrams v. U.S. Although the defendant’s conviction under the Espionage Act for distributing anti-war leaflets was upheld, two dissenting opinions formed the cornerstone of our modern First Amendment law. Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis D. Brandeis argued speech could only be punished if it presented “a clear and present danger” of imminent harm. Mere political advocacy, they said, was protected by the First Amendment. Eventually, these justices were able to convince a majority of the Court to adopt the “clear and present danger test.” [ACLU]
Perhaps the Tamarac City attorney should have steered Villalobos away from placing his own City at risk of being sued.
The fact is other Tamarac blogs have been very harsh to Tamarac City Commissioners in the past. They posted a photo of Bolton adorned in an archaic-looking greek dress, posted Commissioner Debra Placko in a Burger King crown, and Vice Mayor Mike Gelin was given the same crown with a scepter but more recently, the site posted Gelin and Bolton in urban attire, a racial undertone for being Black/Ghetto, even Michelle Jaye Gomez felt the vicious hand of Sharon A. Baron. Want to guess who has never suffered at her hand? Elvin Villalobos, “advertiser-in-chief.” “Stephanie Something” viciously attacked Bolton and Gelin and, the other Republican Troll blogs about Bolton as if he is POTUS.
Tamarac officials have never tried to condemn a blog for its posts until Villalobos decided to promote www.TamaracPost.com on Facebook, Nextdoor, and now the Commission Chambers. Even Sharon, Stephanie, and RedCoward deserve a place in the ecosystem. Cheers to free speech!
Special Thanks to ACLU for the language used in this post and a very special thanks to Elvin Villalobos for the massive number of clicks.