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There is a right to hold a sign; pitching a tent isn’t the same

Published: Mon, November 14, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Youngstown has avoided the worst of the “occupy” movements that has been seen in some other areas. It was and is only prudent for Mayor Charles Sammarone to take steps to avoid the circumstances that have led to trouble elsewhere. That is, specifically, Sammarone has taken action to keep “Occupy Youngstown” from becoming an encampment.

Sammarone issued an order late last week that the tent and burn barrel set up by Occupy Youngstown on the sidewalk across from the Man on the Monument be disassembled. If not, he warned, the tent, burn barrel and other accoutrements of a camp would be confiscated. He set a midnight Thursday deadline, and police and firefighters moved in about 7 a.m. Friday and carried out the mayor’s orders. Both sides were respectful, and there wasn’t a hint of violence.

That’s the way it should be. It is the way it has not been in other cities where there have been larger, more established encampments and where police moved in. In Portland, Ore.; San Francisco, Fresno and Oakland, Calif.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Albany, N.Y., and Denver, there have been clashes or arrests when police moved to clear out tent cities.

Youngstown was fortunate in that the occupy movement here remained small and there was not an encampment, only a tent, a burn barrel and some chairs and fire wood.

The city was lax in allowing the erection and occupation of even one tent on public property. Tacit recognition for even a short period of time that even a handful of protesters can become squatters is bad policy. Now that the tent is gone, it is incumber on the city to be sure that it is not replaced.

Free speech vs. free camping

This is in no way meant as an attack on anyone’s First Amendment right to free speech or lawful assembly. It is a recognition of the obvious difference that exists between protesting or demonstrating in support of a political idea and establishing an encampment as part of that protest.

Inserting the word occupy in the name of this political movement may have been seen as a clever strategy, but it does not give the movement a First Amendment right to actually occupy someone else’s property or any piece of public property in making their point. Not in New York. Not in St. Louis. Not in San Francisco. And not in Youngstown.

The exercise of free speech in the United States takes many forms and speakers have been given wide latitude by the Supreme Court of the United States. It is one of the strengths of this nation. But while cities have a moral and legal obligation to recognize the free speech rights of citizens — regardless of how popular or unpopular a message may be — cities also have an obligation to enforce laws, including those that prohibit misuse of public property or open burning.

The line between speaking out and camping out has been re-established here, and it is up to city officials and those who are protesting in the name of Occupy Youngstown to maintain that balance.


1redvert(2239 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

R1200GS, you just do not get it do you? You chose to clean up a mess left by others instead of creating a mess that always seems to be left after these "occupy" clowns are finally booted.

The check you wrote was your money that you no doubt earned but the clowns would of appreciated it if you had just gone down town and handed over your money, no questions asked.

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2AnotherAverageCitizen(1193 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

BUT Obama who then in excess bailed out Wall Street.

JD, Really?? Don't let facts distort your thinking. Sept Oct Nov 2008, bailout time. Who was President? And every fact points to Bush being president. All that being said, the bailouts were not a bad thing. What was so bad was the Banks and what they did with the bailout money that was so bad. CEO getting millions in bonuses, not the workers, the CEO's. The banks should have helped a lot more folks refinance and we all would have been better off.

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3pgurney(296 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

To the editorial writer - BRAVO!! This is what I've been saying all along. But these people seem to think that taking away their tents and sleeping bags, et al, is somehow infringing on their constitutional right to free speech, like they are incapable of differentiating between the two.

My question is, and has been, since when does one have anything to do with the other?? It does not. Go ahead and make your voice heard. More power to you! However, If you want to erect a tent, go to a campground.

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4webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Brave Youngstown occupiers,

For help exercising your Constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment rights ... protecting yourselves against unconstitutional arrest by police, contact the National Lawyers Guild:




You are NOT alone.

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5webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

- - continued

Before you criticize Occupiers of Youngstown, remember this:

We are ALL occupying the indigenous lands of North America taken by force from the American Indian.

To not embrace this fact is to be hypocritical in your criticisms of the Occupy Wall Street supporters in Youngstown, Ohio.

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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

So, what is the goal of the occupation ?

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7webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago


The Freedom of Assembly Clause is the part of the First Amendment that reads like this:

"Congress shall make no law... abridging...the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

This clause is also sometimes referred to as the Freedom of Association Clause. This clause protects the right to assemble in peace to all Americans.

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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

So with no goals the cause is all about hanging out . . ..

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9webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

I was not conversing with you, Stan. However, since you're calling me out I'll tell you this. Look inside yourself for the answers about the goal. Are you a man who believes himself to be a member of humanity? Or are you a man alone carving out a living for only yourself? If you have a heart then the answer to your question is within you. Nothing I can say here will change your heart.

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10walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Just because you have freedom of speech does not mean that I have to provide a pedestal for you to stand at, nor that I have to listen to your gibberish. Democratically adopted ordinances in the city of Youngstown spell out what can and can't be done. Why not pitch a tent in the middle of Market St; it's public property, right? Once again, we are a nation of LAWS and laws need to be followed. If you don't like it, change the law, but until you do...GET OFF MY LAWN!

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11redvert(2239 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

webad wrote

"Congress shall make no law... abridging...the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

I didn't see the part about tents and burn barrels. The republicans must have removed that part. My guess is that the burn barrels were so that the authorities would have someplace to burn the trash that the occupiers tend to leave behind at these demonstrations. Must admit, that is thoughtful of them.

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12webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago


You must not know the great history of protest and occupation movements in your own country ... some of which obtained for you many of the privileges you enjoy today.
For example:
- March on Washington (USA, 1963
- Women Strike for Peace (1961)
- Stonewall Riots (New York, USA, 1969)
- Alcatraz Occupation (California, USA, 1969-1971)
- Vietnam War Protests (USA, global, 1960s-1975)
- Kent State
- WTO Protests (Seattle, USA, 1999)
- Women's suffrage
- Many others

I'm not going to get into a nit-picking battle of words with you. You are a gadfly on here like Stan. You offer little original insight and appear to mostly enjoy creating an agitation trail following on the comments of others.

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13redvert(2239 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

So how did we get the Indians involved?

Would this be the Indians versus the Yankees ploy??? Hey! I didn't think it was bad for a spur of the moment response!!!

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14webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Just a thought:
I wonder what it's like living inside of a boxed in mind ... a mind all locked up by certain oppressive dictates ... a mind afraid to break free of its chains and think outside of imposed confines ... confines constructed by self or by others? It must be hell on Earth.

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15redvert(2239 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Come on, lighten up! Sounds to me that your life is not exactly real exciting!!!

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16Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

webad :

I like to hear the goals and views of the other side . Calling me a "gadfly" isn't within the realm of divulging those goals . It does show me a limited scope of expression . I readily share my goals and views whether politically correct or not . It is you who is a prisoner of a limited mind .

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17jojuggie(1702 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Hey webad, thank God the white man showed up - otherwise the indians would be still living in in their tents.
I certainly can't picture an Edison, Ford, Bell, etc. among them.
While the indians were doing their dances, Europe was building great cathedrals, opera houses etc..

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18Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

That's why webad . . ..


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19walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Maybe you should study and find out the difference between the words "rights" and "privileges". I mean, I don't want to nitpick but words have meanings. And, there is a huge difference between protest and occupation. SOme of the very events that you list were not lawful and some eggs had to be smashed to keep the peace. So be it; ignorance of the law is no excuse.

But, I can say, I never have been called a gadfly before and I definitely enjoy stirring the pot when it comes to the disease called liberalism. I love to point out how inane liberals are by being inane. I'm sorry you have no sense of humor. Most real Americans that post on this site know Walter is right and absolutely love my comments! Sometimes, I think the Vindicator should pay me to come up with my entertaining quips on the absurdity of the pinko left in this country that has dragged down a once-great nation. Little Johnny may know that 2+2=4 but it's more important to know how he feels about it! We teach our kids all about MLK ( and even give them a day off school so they can go shopping at the mall) but do we teach these kids about the men (and their ultimate fates) who staked everything in 1776 to put their names to a Declaration of Independence, thereby signing their death warrants. Thumbing their collective noses at the mighty crown of England to create this nation under God. But, it is more important to pull the Ten Commandments down from a courthouse wall and a manger scene from the town square. But, maybe I should just start doing some cut and pastes of web links to other organizations that have done the thinking, like you do. So, puh-leeze, before you start spouting off about rights, you better learn about your responsibilities also.

Now, show Walter some love!

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20Boardman120(82 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Stan: it seems to me if "webad" was so passionate about his cause, he would be able to rattle off the goals of said cause. The fact that he can't tells me there is no goal other than to be a nuisance.

I'm beginning to believe more and more that these Occupiers are either 60's hippies or their offspring, trying to relive an era where they thought they "made a difference". The only difference you are making is turning downtown Youngstown into a bigger sh*thole than it already was. If you are proud of that, I'm even more ashamed of you.

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21Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Would it be politically incorrect to assume that many in the occupation are the reincarnation of 60's hippies who perished because of an overconsumption of drugs ?

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22walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Stop it! With that succinct question, you are merely beinging a gadfly.

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23webad(156 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Wenceslaus and Stash,

Lulz. You Gang of Two are hilarious. Really glad I looked in here in between my actual activities helping solve the problems we all face as a nation ... instead of sitting behind my computer bitching. Why don't the two of you get up off your spreading behinds and do something constructive to help make the USA be a more fair place to live and work ... where everyone has hope? That's no matter what you believe that something might be.

Now that I've allowed myself to be dragged down to your level of petty verbal sniping, I am back off to my activism by actually putting my body into the streets and fighting for truth, justice, and the American way, Superman out.

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24Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

The burden of a job may be too much to ask of the occupation . . ..


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25YtownParent(1003 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Wow, I guess I shouldn't be shocked at how wrong this editorial is, from the title to the comments. Yes, we are a nation of laws and rules and anyone using that argument against any protest group gathering on any public property at any time in history would do wise to remember that The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land in our nation of laws. As such, the only limit that the constitution places on anyone's right to assemble is that they must do it "peacefully". No group can be barred from assembling in any public place because of any little local ordinance.

The actions of Mayor Sammarone, The YPD and The Vindicator underscore the reasoning for that constitutional protection. I noticed that the mayor and YPD made no complaints and took no action against the Occupy Youngstown people when they were in line with the police against SB5. Yes, these protest are an inconvenience to some people. Yes they cost some businesses money. Yes they get in the way. And yes, that is the point of every peaceful protest, unlike violent ones that aim to destroy property such as the Boston Tea Party.

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26slappysmith(55 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

i love these comments, it shows you why Youngstown not only leads the nation for people living in poverty, but also leads in narrow minded neanderthals with no answers just really stupid questions. none of you have anything to complain about. you all live in the right place. its where you belong.

i'm sure the American Indians were far better off having us steal their lands then they could have possible been left alone. we did them the most colossal favor we could have bestowed on any people we gave them Youngstown and the rocket scientists that comment on the Vindy.com threads

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27Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

No one is protesting in the middle of Market street or on the moon or on the Easter bunnies's yard.If we follow this line of thinking there can always be local laws and ordinances that maybe passed to prevent citizens from exercising their God given rights.

There is something with in the circles of law known as reasonable. What many have forgotten is that like it or not Free Speech trumps local ordinances as has been again pointed out by another poster. Some would say it is reasonable to have a burn barrel others would argue it is not.In order to exercise their Constitutional rights they would need to keep warm in the winter.In my opinion this is a reasonable request.Your mileage may vary.

As far as local laws and ordinances there have been oppressive laws in this countries history that were disobeyed .Jim Crow laws are but one example.All laws and ordinances are not good ones. The founders wrote in our Declaration of Independence that if we don't like the government to create a new one which is what they in fact did.

There were in fact local ordinances in the south for blacks to read material that many whites could not read but said whites were permitted to vote and the blacks were not. This was the law but it was unjust and in violation of the Constitution.As a result of brave citizens and government -people who were once not permitted to vote (De facto ) were indeed allowed to vote.No doubt there existed a good number of folks at that time who were comfortable with blacks being disenfranchised -legally.

" I'm embarrassed to live in a society that believes camping out for shopping deals, movie tickets, sporting events, and the like are acceptable yet still believes pitching a tent in protest of financial oppression is an act of violence." - -- My wife's cousin.

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28Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps this will enlighten some as to what some of the protesters maybe upset about in other words they may not all be expecting student loans to be wiped out .Here are some quotes make up your own mind.I personally don't think much will change but folks have the right none the less to criticize it :

"The entire taxing and monetary systems are hereby placed under the U.C.C. (Uniform Commercial Code)." -- The Federal Tax Lien Act of 1966

"The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from it's profits or so dependant on it's favors, that there will be no opposition from that class." -- Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws."-- Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

"Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international money lenders. The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States." -- Sen. Barry Goldwater (Rep. AZ)

"Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce." -- James A. Garfield, President of the United States

"Banks lend by creating credit. (ledger-entry credit, monetized debt) They create the means of payment out of nothing." -- Ralph M. Hawtrey, Secretary of the British Treasury

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29Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"To expose a 15 Trillion dollar ripoff of the American people by the stockholders of the 1000 largest corporations over the last 100 years will be a tall order of business." -- Buckminster Fuller

"Every Congressman, every Senator knows precisely what causes inflation...but can't, [won't] support the drastic reforms to stop it [repeal of the Federal Reserve Act] because it could cost him his job." -- Robert A. Heinlein, Expanded Universe

"It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." -- Henry Ford

"The regional Federal Reserve banks are not government agencies. ...but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations." -- Lewis vs. United States, 680 F. 2d 1239 9th Circuit 1982

"We have, in this country, one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board. This evil institution has impoverished the people of the United States and has practically bankrupted our government. It has done this through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it." -- Congressman Louis T. McFadden in 1932 (Rep. Pa)

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30Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"[Every circulating FRN] represents a one dollar debt to the Federal Reserve system." -- Money Facts, House Banking and Currency Committee

"As soon as Mr. Roosevelt took office, the Federal Reserve began to buy government securities at the rate of ten million dollars a week for 10 weeks, and created one hundred million dollars in new [checkbook] currency, which alleviated the critical famine of money and credit, and the factories started hiring people again." -- Eustace Mullins

"A great industrial nation is controlled by it's system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the world-- no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men." -- President Woodrow Wilson

"We are completely dependant on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system.... It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied very soon." -- Robert H. Hamphill, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank

"The Federal Reserve banks, while not part of the government,..." -- United States budget for 1991 and 1992 part 7, page 10

"The Federal Reserve bank buys government bonds without one penny..." -- Congressman Wright Patman, Congressional Record, Sept 30, 1941

"Neither paper currency nor deposits have value as commodities, intrinsically, a 'dollar' bill is just a piece of paper. Deposits are merely book entries." -- Modern Money Mechanics Workbook, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 1975

"This [Federal Reserve Act] establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President [Wilson} signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized....the worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency bill." -- Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. , 1913

"From now on, depressions will be scientifically created." -- Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh Sr. , 1913

"The financial system has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board. That Board administers the finance system by authority of a purely profiteering group. The system is Private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people's money" -- Charles A. Lindbergh Sr., 1923

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31Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Reproduction of all or any parts of the above text may be used for general information.
This HTML presentation is copyright by Barefoot, January 2006

Aside -Good luck to all the deer hunters this week and stay safe out there. God Bless.

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32Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"shouldn't you be protesting in Washington D.C.? THEY are the ones screwing things up?" - - Your thinking. So you protest the owned politicians in DC so they get voted out.Then what happens with the next group? The private Federal reserve is still doing its thing is it not ?

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33Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Remember too many of the marches weren't in DC but locally, bus boycotts, Selma march,local voting rights protests ect. If you have seen "Mississippi Burning" you know the Federal Agents went south they didn't stay in DC.The Vietnam protests happened across the nation as well.

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34Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"To put it another way, the problem isn't one that can be solved by protesting in front of a building or by voting everyone out of office. Since the lobbyists already know that you can only vote for the alternate, they just oil up whichever one is voted into office with copious amounts of money.
So long as the American voters have an representative form of government , then the American voters are screwed."

- - -I would think the protesting in front of a building is an effort to enlighten other citizens . It isn't the representative government that is the problem it is the fact that it is controlled as you so aptly have expressed.That is why I would think they aren't in DC solely. I would also think that the reason they can be booted from protesting in front of the Federal reserve banks is because they are in fact private and thus private property. So as long as the Fed carries on as it has with out being audited making money from nothing -yeah I would agree we are screwed.I don't see it changing.

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35southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

People are fed up with the Federal Govt. and have reached a boiling point.

Most people seek radical changes, but they will be waiting a long time.

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36Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"Local authorities are clearing out encampments of the Occupiers not because of what they are saying..." - - -Many would disagree.

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37Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"Would the absolutists concede that there are indeed some circumstances where free speech should be regulated?"- - -"God hates fags " - -I would not consider that free speech nor yelling fire in a theater.That I would call hate speech or fighting words which would not be considered free speech, in my opinion.

I additionally wouldn't consider someone a Christian simply because they call themselves a Christian. "Ye shall know them by the fruit they bear"

I hardly consider attempting to enlighten willfully or ignorant sleeping sheep like people on public property about their financial enslavement and anti-constitutionally (private) banking hate speech but your millage may vary.

This is in fact what Thomas Jefferson warned us against but the sleepers have either forgotten or not learned their History.

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