Bradley County Tea Party Employs Stuart James On Flier Case

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Bradley County Tea Party has hired attorney Stuart James to appear before the Cleveland City Council to protest actions of the council relating to a Tea Party flier.

Donny Harwood, Bradley Tea Party president, said, On June 18, the city of Cleveland’s Council members formally voted and directed that an investigation be conducted on members of the Tea Party of Bradley County for distributing political literature and opposition material to a proposed land use planning document.

"The city of Cleveland’s resolution and meeting minutes describe Mayor Tom Rowland’s motion that directed the city of Cleveland Police Department to investigate our membership for distributing information. The motion passed 7-0.

"The Tea Party of Bradley County has retained Attorney Stuart James to further our position that an elected body cannot criminalize political activity and direct investigations on political groups for their opposition to the actions of local government. It is the position of the Tea Party of Bradley County that the distribution of information cannot be criminalized by an out of control elected body.

"The Tea Party of Bradley County has no alternative. The city of Cleveland’s open intimidation of our membership and their infringement on our freedom to speak without reprisals must be addressed. We believe that any group that opposes the city of Cleveland will be subject to the same attempts to criminalize political activity."

Attorney James sent this letter to Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland:

Dear Mayor Rowland:

Our firm understands that there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the distribution of certain flyers in the City of Cleveland community by anonymous persons. We understand that there has been some controversy surrounding the flyers and involvement of the Tea Party of Bradley County in the distribution of the flyers. The flyers apparently involve the development plan supported by certain political leaders of the City of Cleveland. We also understand that the plan that is opposed by many residents of the city. We believe that there will be political and factual statements in the future both supporting and opposing the plan.

 We also received the minutes from a City Council meeting where the City Council speaks about the flyer and its distribution. Apparently, the City Council feels that it can launch an investigation into the flyers by asking law enforcement officials to officially investigate whether a law has been broken.

Additionally, it appears that the City Council does not agree with the efforts of those who oppose the plan and with the contents of the flyers. What concerns the Tea Party of Bradley County and its President Donny Harwood is the constitutionality of the City Council's actions in asking for an official law enforcement investigation involving the exercise of political free speech.

As you know, political free speech is protected by the Tennessee and United States Constitutions. Although free speech is not an absolute right, free speech is protected. Moreover, free speech is protected from retaliatory actions by governmental bodies, such as the City Council. Therefore, any resolution attempting to undermine those rights is in and of itself, constitutionally suspect. 

Moreover, the City Council may have exceeded its authority and may have violated the Constitution of the United States of America and the Tennessee Constitution attempting to pass a resolution designed to stop the exercise of free speech.

 

 


Fort Negley Residents To Get Parking System Similar To Fort Wood

Petition Seeks To Keep Dollar General Out Of New Salem Community On Lookout Mountain As Dollar General Market, Ante-Bellum Event Venue Are Planned

Woman's Body Found In Walker County On Tuesday


The City Council passed an ordinance on Tuesday allowing restricted on-street parking at Fort Negley on the Southside. Council Chairman Erskine Oglesby said parking has become at a premium ... (click for more)

A petition is seeking to keep Dollar General out of the New Salem community on Lookout Mountain. It comes as Stan Carnahan said a new Dollar General store as well as an event venue in a replica ... (click for more)

An unidentified body was found on Tuesday, about 115 feet off the roadway, in the 2900 block of Old Mineral Springs Road, Lafayette, according to Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson. Preliminary ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Fort Negley Residents To Get Parking System Similar To Fort Wood

The City Council passed an ordinance on Tuesday allowing restricted on-street parking at Fort Negley on the Southside. Council Chairman Erskine Oglesby said parking has become at a premium in the neighborhood just south of the resurgent Main Street. He said many customers of nearby businesses park in the neighborhood for lengthy periods. He said the new system will require ... (click for more)

Petition Seeks To Keep Dollar General Out Of New Salem Community On Lookout Mountain As Dollar General Market, Ante-Bellum Event Venue Are Planned

A petition is seeking to keep Dollar General out of the New Salem community on Lookout Mountain. It comes as Stan Carnahan said a new Dollar General store as well as an event venue in a replica of an ante-bellum home are planned there. Mr. Carnahan said the projects are to go on a 10-acre tract across from the Canyon Grill. It is at the intersection of Highway 136 that ... (click for more)

Opinion

Why I Support Funding The Proposed Budget - And Response

Dear Commissioners of Hamilton County, I attended the District 3 community meeting with Commissioner Greg Martin and School Board Chairman Joe Wingate, who was filling in for District 3 Rep. Joe Smith. Commissioner Martin stated he had not made up his mind on how to vote for the tax increase at that time. He requested thoughtful input on why the citizens of his district wanted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: VW Needs Big Repairs

The banner headline on Monday morning read, “Gov. Lee, top Republicans celebrate failed UAW bid to unionize Volkswagen,” and that’s the second-worst thing that the headline could have said. The worst, of course, is if the UAW had won, and the Detroit-based union that lost 35,000 members last year would be revived -- breaking a hole into the tight wall of foreign-owned auto assembly ... (click for more)

Sports

Red Bank Dunks Cleveland For First Swim Win

It’s been a challenging summer so far for the Red Bank Gators swim team, but they had extra reason to celebrate Monday night after beating the Cleveland Aqua Tigers for their first win of the season. Both teams entered Monday’s competition winless in three meets, but the Gators now have a slash in the win column after recording a convincing victory by a final score of 402-262. ... (click for more)

CASL: Monday's High-Point Scorers:

CLEVELAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS: 18 – Trey Parris III, Monroe Chittum 17 – Breanna Belcher, Charlie Chittum 16 – Lauren Thompson 15 – Elijah Sluss 13 – Luke Hunt 12 – Norah Holt 11 – Abby Anglin 10 – M.J. Miller, Eva Christmann, Estella Clemons, Ivy Briggs. RED BANK HIGH-POINT SCORERS: 19 – Noah Blake, Ben Meagher 17 – Trevor Brooks 15 – Simon Bastnagel ... (click for more)