A couple of days ago the Keene Sentinel published the following Letter to the Editor, and the letter has been submitted to the City Council as a formal communication to be heard at an upcoming Council meeting.
For the last couple of years the city council has been debating whether or not, and by how much to increase parking meter rates, and the Parking Czar recently announced his retirement. The City even sued 6 people who were feeding meters to make a political statement, in hopes of creating a debate on whether or not the City even needs parking meters. (more…)
Topless Tuesday 2010, Keene’s Central Square
Longtime readers of Free Keene remember the controversial and short-lived “Topless Tuesdays” events from 2010. Many critics in the area still cite it as something they didn’t like that liberty activists have done. It’s relevant to point out that none of the females who participated in that were Free State Project participants. They were all townies.
Now, five years later, the topless equality movement has come again to New Hampshire, this time with over 1,100 saying (on Facebook) they will be attending “Free the Nipple” at Hampton Beach. (Who knows what the actual turnout will be.) The event is slated for all-day on Sunday 8/23. There is no specific meeting time or location besides Hampton Beach. This is an interesting approach and one of the event organizers comments on why on their facebook page:
“Even though there is no meeting spot, I have a feeling we will notice each other and make some new friends. I plan on walking around and I’ll gladly introduce myself, but I want to enjoy the beach as much as all of you! We don’t need a giant gathering or “spectacle.” Our goal is to just be normal about it. We want to show everyone that the breast and nipple can be seen without all hell breaking loose, traumatizing kids, giving old men heart attacks, or causing the apocalypse.”
Nonetheless, certain prudes in politics are making this out to be the apocalypse. Busybody state senator Nancy Styles is talking about proposing a law banning female toplessness and some local Hampton people have been whining.
Though it’s not illegal in New Hampshire to be topless as a male or female, one city, Laconia, has made an illegal ordinance banning it. News just hit this weekend that the ladies behind Free the Nipple are planning civil disobedience in Laconia.
Things are definitely getting interesting. Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on this social change in New Hampshire. Though people are legally free to be topless, there’s a large social stigma that needs to be broken. Thanks to the courageous ladies who will be participating in Sunday’s event, and especially to those who will eventually risk arrest in Laconia at an unknown date in the future.
Here are the two organizers, Kia Sinclair, and Heidi Lilley explaining why they’re having this event:
No Longer Illegal in NH
In a 42-page decision, the US District Court for New Hampshire has ruled in favor of protestors including Free State Project early mover and attorney Brandon Ross who violated the state’s “ballot selfie” prohibition and were investigated and threatened by the Attorney General’s office. In 2014, Ross had taken a picture of his ballot and posted it to his facebook accompanied by the words “come at me bro”. They did, and now Ross and his co-plaintiffs state representative Leon Rideout, and Andrew Langlois are victorious in their case thanks to the NH ACLU, as the law has been overturned as unconstitutional!
The defendant in the case, representing the state, was secretary of state Bill Gardener who argued that free speech (photos of ballots) should be curtailed because voters will be either induced to sell their votes or subjected to coercion if they are permitted to disclose images of their ballots to others. Judge Paul Barbadoro denied there was any evidence those speculative objections would be the case, and even if there were evidence, that’s not reason enough to restrict free speech.
State Rep Tim Horrigan, Snitch
The case reveals on page 18, that it was Timothy Horrigan, an anti-freedom state rep (rated as a “Constitutional Threat” in 2015 by the NH Liberty Alliance) that both introduced the bill banning ballot selfies AND snitched to the Attorney General’s office about Ross’ facebook post. Ross, in an exclusive interview for Free Keene said Horrigan’s behavior, “shows that lawmakers will absolutely use their laws they’ve just made to try to censor people”.
Ross also said he was surprised the state actually moved against him, saying, “I gave them too much credit, thinking they would never try to enforce that clearly unconstitutional law. Joke’s on me. But, a little healthy defiance can be a good thing now and again too.”
On June 9, the NH Supreme Court released the long awaited ruling in the case of City of Keene v. James Cleaveland, et al (aka Robin Hood of Keene). It looks like Robin Hood of Keene is heading back to court for the request for injunctive relief, the rest of the case was affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Here are three relevant portions of the decision:
“[W]e conclude that the trial court correctly determined that enforcing the City’s tortious interference with contractual relations claim would violate the respondents’ First Amendment rights. Given this conclusion, we need not reach the respondents’ argument that the tortious interference claim is also barred by the State Constitution. (more…)
One man’s trash • Ji is free! • All drink and no food • Turn that fire down • The bellamy salute and some pesky kid who won’t stand for the pledge • Activists head back to school • VT cop gets snickerdoodled • Local sheep segregating by color? • Darryl, Shaunna, Tim, and Rapsher join • Show notes at: BlackSheepRising.org
On May 22nd, 2015 the Manchester police department conducted a sobriety checkpoint on Bridge street. In New Hampshire, the police are required by law to announce when a checkpoint will take place. This gives activists in the Shire time to plan and organize for such an event. On this night dozens of activists came out to copblock the checkpoint. There was coverage at both the actual checkpoint and at the last intersection before entering the checkpoint. A majority of the effort was to divert drivers from entering the checkpoint. Activists used large signs, hand signals, dance moves, and a laser light to project warnings on the side of a building. Fellow FreeKeene blogger Shire Dude was also on the scene livestreaming the event via bambuser. The Manchester police department conducts these sobriety check points every few weeks. It is a guarantee that each one of these events will have a strong copblock presence. Shire Dude and I will be there each time to document the activism.