As one blogger has already written, Democracy took a bullet in Deltona, Florida this past week.
Reacting to online criticism of its elected officials, the city of Deltona, Florida has authorized city employees to file libel lawsuits at taxpayers' expense. On February 16, City commissioners voted 4-3 to pass this resolution:
'The City is to provide reimbursement and expenditures of legal fees to protect both proactively and reactively where needed from material damages, slanderous or libelous comments or claims and unsubstantiated allegations past, present and future where the Mayor feels it is needed..'
Breaking this down, this neanderthal group of commissioners has just enacted a law empowering themselves to spend public funds to become plaintiffs in libel actions if a member of the public criticizes them, if the mayor deems it necessary. What a bunch of spineless wimps. Let them start by coming after me. They have just passed an unconstitutional law trampling on the first amendment and the right to criticize public figures holding public office. How dare they? Fools on a hill, they be. The ultimate act of self-righteous, official arrogance.
Speech that criticizes public officials, whether in letters to the editor, on posters or placards- or editorial cartoons- is a cherished and fundamental value of Americans, even in Deltona. This is a city either with too much time on its hands or a group of commisssioners who are obviously incapable of taking the heat. To quote Harry Truman, then get the hell out of the kitchen. They have no business holding office and should resign at once. They have disgraced themselves and their city.
Here is an article about their assinine (most of the time, asinine is spelled with one 's'. Today, though, the city commission earned both) machinations in the Orlando Sentinel: