Alan Korwin Fight With Phoenix in Appeals Court Over Censoring of Pro-Gun Ads
"Jesus Heals. AM 1360. Life. Perspectives. Answers."
"Only in Downtown Phoenix...Only on downtownphoenix.com."
"Love is sensual. Happy Valentine's Day. Fascinations."
Korwin found bus-shelter ads for free pregnancy tests, free adoption services and the Carpenters Union.
In a deposition, Marie Camacho Chapple, a Phoenix worker who's since retired, was asked what makes the Jesus Heals ad -- half of which featured a crucifix -- a commercial transaction. She replied that if the readers of the ad listened to the radio station, they might hear ads and would be counted as listeners so the station could sell more ads.
What she didn't say, but we will, is that websites with ads work just like that, too.
Debbie Cotton, now the interim manager of the Phoenix Convention Center, supposedly gave up the reason for the city's decision during a 2010 phone call with Korwin. Cotton told him controversial ads receive extra scrutiny, and his ad was controversial, according to an affidavit by Korwin. In a deposition, Cotton said she didn't recall saying those words.
"The reality is there is no standard," says Dan Pochoda, a lawyer with Arizona's ACLU.
Unfortunately, Pochoda says, laws regarding a city's proprietary interest in managing things like ads on city property are "crummy." Sure, let the city make some restrictions, he says. But standards should be standards -- not totally arbitrary decisions made at a whim by bureaucrats.
The ACLU's brief notes the differences between the First Amendment and Arizona's free-speech right embodied in the state constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The Arizona Constitution proclaims: "Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right."
The more permissive state right "supports applying a more stringent test in this case," the brief says.
The appeals court should either disallow "content-based restrictions entirely, or at the very least, (adopt) a more stringent test for when they are allowed."
We'll let you know how it goes.