A weird week in the news
Tim Whyte · May 25, 1997
This week's assortment of crackpots, politicians, minor celebrities, adulterers and other weirdos:
Shaw is best remembered for winning a First Amendment lawsuit a few years back in which he fought and defeated a charge of disturbing the peace after posting a sign in his van that read, "Officer J. Banks can suck my duck." Banks apparently had cited Shaw for a traffic violation, and Shaw was, well, irked.
Now. Before you go jumping to the conclusion that Shaw wanted Deputy Banks to have a mouthful of feathers, it's helpful to know that the U in the word "duck" on Shaw's sign was, how shall we say, vertically scaled. It was a very tall, narrow U, so narrow that, to the casual observer, it could be mistaken for an I, which of course gives the whole feather metaphor a completely different meaning.
At the time of that court battle, I was something of a rookie city editor, filling in as editorial writer while the boss was on vacation. I wrote a scathing editorial chastising Shaw for wasting the court's time.
Problem was, I got caught up so much in my understandable disdain for Shaw that I forgot to temper the editorial with all of the standard newspaper defenses of the First Amendment. I was wrong; I overlooked, for a moment, the constitutional guarantees of free speech and every citizen's right to say what he wants, write what he wants and be a jerk if he wants. What can I say? I got carried away with the overall absurdity of the case.
Should Shaw have put up the sign? Well, in the interest of class and common sense, no. But should he have been prosecuted for venting his irritation in that manner? No way.
In this latest incident, Gary claims police harassment is the real motivating factor behind the spousal abuse charge, and Diane has allegedly accused an African-American deputy district attorney of being in the KKK.
Charming couple, eh?
At a council meeting a few weeks back, Klajic suggested -- falsely, by all other accounts -- that Trejo does little more than sit around drinking coffee. This week, at a Newhall community meeting, numerous residents came to the deputy's defense, prompting the councilwoman to do that ever-popular dance the Klajic Backpedal.
"I don't really know Joe, although I think he has done a wonderful job," Klajic said, explaining that her real concern wasn't that she thinks Trejo is a goof-off, but that she thinks Downtown Newhall law enforcement as a whole needs to be stepped up, perhaps with increased patrols.
Fair enough. In fact, after hearing her most recent explanation of her concern, I think she may have a good point. But she didn't have to publicly rake Trejo over the coals to make it.
By the way: What turns a normal hotel room into a "love nest?"
Tim Whyte is the magaging editor of
The Signal. His commentary appears on Sundays.
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