FERLO: Free-Speech Zones “Morally, Politically and Constitutionally Un-Acceptable”

I’m more than a little late covering this kerfuffle, but it’s a neat kerfuffle. On Friday July 24, the Tribune-Review ran an article which led like so:

Sen. Jim Ferlo wants the city’s permission to turn Point State Park into a free-speech zone for activists the day before the Group of 20 economic summit begins Downtown. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)

Later that day, Sen. Ferlo released to the media a copy of the permit request he had sent to Chief Harper and Director Huss, along with a letter directly to Mr. Boren:

Respectfully, I have been in public life for over 25 years and while I have taken exception to various editorials and news reporting I have never written and asked for a correction or retraction. The headline and your own reporting of an interview with me following the release of my letter to local public safety officials amounts to the pusillanimous neglect of accuracy and truth! I never , either in written word or our phone conversation, used the phrase or suggested a so-called “free-speech zone”. A so-called “free speech zone” violates our right of free speech and assembly—anywhere! It would amount to me telling you and the Trib and Mr. Scaife that you could only sell or pass out the Trib at certain public intersections….

And more. That’s about as definitive a denial and rebuke as it gets. However, I couldn’t help but remember a similar article published by the Post-Gazette on June 5:

But, Mr. Ferlo added, he also hopes that protesters’ voices will be heard during the event, preferably in a peaceful “free speech” venue near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where leaders will be meeting.

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