Somebody stole my sign … and a whole lot more |

Somebody stole my sign … and a whole lot more

Many years ago, our forefathers put their most cherished beliefs about government into the Bill of Rights, the first of which is the Freedom of Speech. It guarantees us the right — not the privilege but the right — to express ourselves in regard to religion, politics, who will win the world series this year and a whole lot more. And over the years, the Supreme Court has put very few limits upon this right. Indeed, it has jealously guarded this right from encroachment.

Yesterday, somebody went into my yard and stole a sign — and a whole lot more. The sign was worth a couple dollars, but that person also stole my right to express myself on a political issue important to myself and many of my neighbors. That right is priceless. And I want it and my sign back.

Many of you reading this may not be aware of the controversy in Alta Sierra. A number of individuals have taken over control of the ASPOA board and are now quietly — you can say secretly given some of their actions — trying to change the nature of this bucolic community into what appears to be a regulated gated community. They want to change the CC&Rs, impose mandatory payment of Home Owners Association fees and God knows what else. There is a sizeable group of us opposed to this. So we are trying to recall the ASPOA board.

This is a political issue, which should be discussed, debated and voted upon. That is the democratic way.

However, there those who don’t see things that way. They see nothing wrong with the abuse of power and position to force the changes they want, regardless of the rights of others. Of late, we have seen this in Washington with a steady stream of scandals from the IRS, NSA, FBI and other organizations using their power to suppress the rights of those they disagree with.

And on a lesser scale but no less seriously, we have it here in Grass Valley as well.

On June 16, I placed this sign on Aileen Way in my back yard. I had every right to do so, for it was my sign, my land and my right. Somebody opposed to my views took the sign the next day in the middle of the afternoon. And with it, they stole my First Amendment rights.

I want both that right and my sign back. This is America, after all, not a totalitarian state, at least yet.

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Paul Reilly lives in Nevada County.

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