Tonight I bicycled to Stetson law school on Tampa Street, a four-mile journey from my Seminole Heights home for an ACLU-led panel session on the city of Tampa's proposed free speech limits and restrictions for the GOP convention in August.
It was a packed house at the Stetson law school with lots of valid First Amendment concerns, like limiting groups to 60 minutes for parades/rallies during the convention.
Restrictions are everywhere. Even fo me tonight.
I locked my bicycle to a pole outside Stetson -- a move that was of grave concern for a Stetson security guard who threatened to remove the bike before someone tracked me down inside the meeting room.
The bike didn't block anyone from going in the building, but the security guard said someone could crash into the bike and sue Stetson.
Restrictions -- you haven't seen anything yet because your First Amendment rights are about to take a beating when the Republicans come to town in late August to nominate Mitt Romney to run against President Obama.
The city of Tampa is imposing a "Clean Zone" that's way more than the arena area in downtown. Inside this so-called clean area you are banned from bringing in stuff like water squirt guns or wearing masks (but you can bring in your concealed handgun -- that's a state law the city of Tampa says they don't control.)
The Tampa city attorney was on the panel assembled by the ACLU, though nobody from Tampa Police or the State Attorney's Office was on the dais.
On Thursday, the Tampa City Council will be reviewing the proposed restrictions and I recommend anyone who cares about his or her First Amendment rights attend that council meeting.