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Letter To Palo Alto (CA) City Council Opposing Council Resolution Calling For End Of "Corporate Personhood" And Corporate Free Speech

Letter To Palo Alto (CA) City Council Opposing Council Resolution Calling For End Of "Corporate Personhood" And Corporate Free Speech

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Published by wmartin46
Letter to City of Palo Alto City Council opposing any Council involvement in attempts to amend the US Constitution in such a way as to restrict free speech for Corporations.
Letter to City of Palo Alto City Council opposing any Council involvement in attempts to amend the US Constitution in such a way as to restrict free speech for Corporations.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: wmartin46 on Oct 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Palo Alto City CouncilCity of Palo AltoPalo Alto, CACc: James KeeneSubject: Palo Alto City Council’s Opposition To “Corporate Personhood”Elected Council Officials:The Council’s decision to formally request Federal legislators to change the Constitution todeny free speech rights to “corporations” would seem to rise to the height of irrelevance— given that the local government is itself a “municipal corporation”—which means also that“municipal corporations are not people”.Corporations are, in fact, comprise of people. Corporations own assets, just like people.Corporations can be sued, just like people. And corporate officers can be jailed—just like people—when those corporate officers direct corporate actions that are found later to beillegal. What aspect of this reality has the Council come to disbelieve?It is clear that those promoting this attack on corporations are clearly attacking corporations —and would encourage the Council to advocate for the outlawing of corporations—if theythought they could gain that level of support from the Council. There is a long history of antagonism towards business interests here in Palo Alto and those pushing this silliness.While they may claim that they are not “opposed to corporations”—their long history of anti-business activities here in Palo Alto documents another story entirely.In addition to an attack on Corporations as a bulwark of our Western system of values, it isalso an attack on Free Speech, which the Council has now became a “water carrier” for those who would silence both corporate interests, but others, when opportunity offers.Just how committed is the Council to Free Speech? Did anyone of the you voting for thisResolution ever take the time to review the history of Free Speech, and the legal history of “Corporate Personhood”? What evidence did the Council weigh that "corporate money"was influencing local decisions? Would the Arrillaga project be one that might qualify, or is that one somehow "different"?Perhaps the Council will consider reading the following before signing any letter requesting a Constitutional Amendment— Corporate Personhood: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhoodSince at least
– 17 U.S. 518(1819), the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized corporations as having thesame rights as natural persons to contract and to enforce contracts. In
- 118 U.S. 394 (1886), the
reporter noted in the headnote to the opinion that the Chief Justice beganoral argument by stating, "The court does not wish to hear argument on thequestion whether the provision in theFourteenth Amendmentto theConstitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations.We are all of the opinion that it does."
While the headnote is not part of the Court's opinion and thus not precedent, two years later, in
 PembinaConsolidated Silver Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania
- 125 U.S. 181 (1888), theCourt clearly affirmed the doctrine, holding, "Under the designation of 'person' there is no doubt that a private corporation is included [in theFourteenth Amendment]. Such corporations are merely associations of individuals united for a special purpose and permitted to do business under a particular name and have a succession of members without dissolution."
This doctrine has been reaffirmed by the Court many times since.History of Free Speech:http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2006/feb/05/religion.newsLegal History of Free Speech:http://mysite.verizon.net/jdehullu/speech/sphist.htmFreedom of Speech in the US—A Short History:http://civilliberty.about.com/od/freespeech/tp/History-Freedom-of-Speech-United-States-Timeline.htmHistory of the First Amendment:http://www.illinoisfirstamendmentcenter.com/history.php
Needed Changes In Local Government
This embarrassing episode of inappropriate action on the part of the current City Council isanother example of why we desperately need changes in the nature of our localgovernment. This sort of Resolution in no way represents the thinking of the people of Palo Alto—any more so than a Resolution condemning the existence of “Corporations” bythis Council would represent the thinking of Palo Altans. This action represents thethinking of only seven (7) elected officials—none of whom ever campaigned onoverturning this, or any Supreme Court decisions. (One can only wonder how many of those voting on this Resolution have ever read all of the documentation associated withCitizens United?)Therefore, the Palo Altans need to be able to easily rescind these kinds of Resolutions— which clearly are “outside the pay grade” of most Council Members. The Residents of Palo Alto need to have some sort of mechanism that allows us to stop these sorts of Council actions before they leave the Council Chambers, and begin to do damage to thereputation of the city of Palo Alto, and its hard working, clear-thinking residents.

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