Janice Arnold-Jones and Bud Shaver on Off The Cuff ABQ Talk Radio
By Bud Shaver,
Albuquerque, New Mexico- The slippery slope infringing on free speech reached a new low in Albuquerque. The latest attack on free speech was delivered on December 3, 2021 when the city Ethics Committee ruled unanimously to reprimand the "Stop The Stadium" leaders for failure to file as a Measure Finance Committee (MFC). The grassroots "Stop The Stadium" efforts soundly defeated the city’s $50 million soccer stadium tax bond hike at the polls on November 2, 2021.
In a complaint filed by Joaquin Baca, Board Director of MRGCD, Baca referenced a past ruling by the Ethics Committee where they reprimanded us and fined us $1,000.00 back in 2015.
Baca stated in his complaint that,
"Prior decisions by the Board on the same issue will generally be followed and the parties are urged to refer to prior rulings on identical or similar issues. The Board of Ethics heard nearly the same set of facts in Alex Curtas vs. Tara Shaver, Henry "Bud" Shaver, [Fr.] Stephen Imbarrato, and [Protest] ABQ (BOE Case No. 01-2015). The Board found Bud Shaver and Tara Shaver qualified as a Measure Finance Committee, and failed to comply with requirements imposed on Measure Finance Committees under both the City Charter and the Board Rules."
In their defense, the "Stop The Stadium" group's attorney argued that,
"Any sanction awarded against her [Stop the Stadium] violates the U.S. Constitution, the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Process Clause, and the corresponding provisions of the New Mexico Constitution.”
On December 3, 2021, the Board of Ethics voted unanimously to reprimand the "Stop The Stadium" leaders but chose not to punish them with a fine.
According to an article that covered this ruling,
"It is unclear exactly why the board chose not to fine Hampton, but her attorney Nicholas Rimmer had argued that any such punishment would violate her rights to free speech under the state and federal constitutions."
The ethics board apparently agreed with that argument.
However though, in our “similar or identical issue” the Board of Ethics DIDN’T think that a punishment would violate our free speech rights in 2015 when they fined us $1,000.00! It begs the question, "Why the Board of Ethics chose to punish us with a fine but not the "Stop The Stadium" leaders?
Tara Shaver, spokeswoman for Abortion Free New Mexico issued the following statement,
"In this latest infringement upon free speech, the Board of Ethics ruled that you can't oppose or support candidates or political issues if you spend more than $250.00 to do so. This unconstitutional Measure Finance Committee (MFC) mandate for free speech activity imposed by the city upon the general public forces heavy handed compliance to arbitrary rules which discourages political speech and political involvement. There are many reasons why people may not want to jump through the City’s (MFC) hoops. We formed a MFC back in 2013 when we worked to get a 20 week late-term abortion ban on the Albuquerque city ballot. During that campaign we jumped through all the city’s hoops which actually made us a target for violence!"
IN FACT, KRQE NEWS 13 REPORTED AT THE TIME:
When they [Albuquerque Police Department] discovered the sign shop had been hired to print anti-abortion campaign posters, they called in the feds. The director of the ABQ Voters for Late Term Abortion Ban says the time and place of the explosion is no coincidence. [Tara Shaver] says it’s possible that someone thought the address printed on all their signs was their campaign headquarters. “It’s really scary to think people will go to such lengths, especially when we’re following the process of the City Charter and doing everything legally and lawfully.”
Bud & Tara Shaver
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