U.S. Constitution “Malled” in America

Dear Friends,

Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson is coming after some of Minnesota’s most troublesome criminals. No, not drug dealers and murderers. Protesters – peaceful ones, in fact. Johnson is targeting organizers of a protest at Mall of America, where on December 20th people gathered in response to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

I can only surmise that Johnson must have failed the course on the U.S. Constitution while in law school. She argues that because police shut down the Mall for two hours and businesses lost money, protesters should compensate businesses for lost revenue and the City for the cost of providing law enforcement.

Really? What ever happened to the right to assemble and freedom of speech? Sorry, Ms. Johnson, but in a democracy, the freedom to peaceably, non-violently speak one’s mind is s a cost of doing business – a cost born by all of us. These protesters weren’t vandals or thugs. They were responding to a legitimate concern, and conducted themselves admirably. To quote organizer Lena Gardner, “We came to sing carols and raise awareness. The Bloomington police are the ones who shut down the mall, not us.”

The argument that Mall of America is a private business and, as such, protesters had no right to be there simply fails to recognize the changed reality of the marketplace in modern America. The allegedly private space of a mall has replaced the public space of the town square that, in bygone days, comfortably accommodated the voices of discontent even as it accommodated the hawking of wares and services. (Well, in Minnesota, more comfortably in June than in December.)

Des Moines attorney Joseph Glazebrook joins us on today’s Fallon Forum to discuss this and other legal nuances in Bloomington’s vendetta against democracy.

Also today, Tim Urban is our guest as he presents a positive spin on President Obama’s record, and second guesses the wisdom of the decision by many Democratic candidates to run away from the President’s accomplishments rather than embrace them.

And we talk with Leland Searles about water quality and watershed management. A specific question on my mind is whether the “cap and trade” idea proposed as a strategy to clean-up our water is good, bad or if I might . . . a wash.

We’ll also have an update on climate news, including the inability of the Des Moines Register to so much as mention in its story about 2014 being a cold year in Iowa the fact that globally, 2014 was the hottest year on record.

Tune-in Monday, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm CST on KDLF 1260 AM or online. Join the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122. You also can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 5:00 pm on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 pm on Wednesday. Thanks!

Ed Fallon

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