Laurie Robin Rosenthal, Editor
Ralph Nader came to Santa Monica to throw his support behind the opposition to Proposition W. Nader joined local activists in protesting the proposition, which, if passed, will weaken Santa Monica’s very strong conflict of interest law.
At a press conference held near a “No on Prop W” billboard at 26th and Olympic, Nader was joined by Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a Santa Monica-based organization, and Carmen Balber, consumer advocate for Election Watchdog.
The billboard – which features the Santa Monica Pier and states “Santa Monica For Sale By City Council: Prop W Is Wrong” – is being sponsored by the Campaign for Consumer Rights. The City has threatened to sue the organization for copyright infringement, suggesting that the Pier is a protected trademark of the City.
In a letter to Joseph Lawrence, of the City of Santa Monica, lawyer Fredric Woocher wrote, “I am responding on behalf of Election Watchdog to your letter dated October 19, 2006, demanding that Election Watchdog remove the ‘Santa Monica: For Sale by City Council’ billboard urging a vote against Proposition W in the upcoming November 7, 2006 election.
“I first wish to congratulate you and the City of Santa Monica for joining the likes of Rev. Jerry Falwell, Fox News Corporation and Bill O’Reilly, and Mastercard Incorporated by attempting to use the trademark and copyright laws to suppress political speech and satire that is protected by the First Amendment. It is very informative for the City’s residents and voters to see what the City officials’ immediate reaction is and whom they align themselves with when confronted with political views and commentary critical of their actions.”
Santa Monica voters will have their chance to weigh in on Proposition W on Election Day.