Midlothian homeowners fight over free speech
By 11/30/2006 00:00:00
MIDLOTHIAN - Homeowners fighting annexation by the City of Midlothian claim the city is trying to silence their right to free speech.
David Lister of the Rural Citizens Against Annexation paid to rent space in front the city's former civic center, now a private business, to post four banners speaking out against the annexation.
The white banners with red wording were erected on Midlothian's South Main Street for two weeks before Lister was told they would have to be taken down.
Lister said no one from the city hall actually contacted him requiring the signs be taken down, but put pressure on the business owners requiring the signs come down.
Midlothian city officials did not respond as of press time.
'First they said it was a violation of the sign ordinance because they were too big,' Lister said. 'They said these banners weren't political, so we had to take them down.'
Lister said the signs were within the appropriate size as required by law.
At the bottom of each banner it stated 'political ad paid for by David Lister 214-212-4573.'
Under the state law political ads, banners and signs were required to list which group or person paid for the publication.
RCAA members have spoken out for several months against the forced annexation stating they would rather remain residing in the county.
'Most of the 1,500 rural residents want nothing to do with city codes and taxes,' Lister said.
'The only power we have to stop this is the freedom of speech.'
The banners stated, 'When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.' (Charles Evans Hughes); 'Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.' (Calvin Coolidge); 'No man is good enough to govern another without the other's consent.' (Abraham Lincoln); 'Your cause is not just a squabble over taxes, but a struggle for freedom.' (Thomas Paine from Common Sense)