December 2007

Legal Challenge Changes Arkansas Ballot Access Law
Greens Assert Their Rights
by Mark Swaney, Green Party of Arkansas

There was no “legitimate state purpose” to having different standards for independent compared to partisan candidates.

One of the greatest challenges the Green Party faces across the United States are ballot access laws written by Democrats and Republicans aimed at excluding alternative voices so they are not heard.

In Arkansas this year, those laws are in flux as a direct result of a Green Party challenge. Formerly, in order to qualify for the ballot, the state of Arkansas required new political parties to collect signatures from a number of valid registered voters equal to 3 percent of the vote in the previous governor’s race. For the 2006 election, that number was 24,171 signatures.

However on June 27, 2006 the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project filed a suit, Green Party of Arkansas v Daniels, in Federal Court against this law. The ACLU argued that since Arkansas had already deemed that 10,000 signatures was enough of a “modicum of support” for an independent candidate not affiliated with a party to qualify for the ballot, the state could not require more from a candidate that was from a political party.

Previously on May 30, 2006 the Green Party of Arkansas had submitted more than 18,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office to qualify for party status, but the state refused to check them. With presumably at least 10,000 of them valid, the ACLU sought an injunction against the Arkansas signature law with the goal of obtaining ballot status for Green gubernatorial candidate Jim Lendall.

U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. agreed and granted the injunction, arguing there was no “legitimate state purpose” to having different standards for independent compared to partisan candidates.

In the case of ballot access laws, which have only existed for a relatively short time in America, the only “legitimate state purpose” to make any restriction whatsoever on the number of persons or parties allowed to be printed on the ballot is to prevent “voter confusion” by demonstrating a party or candidate has a “modicum of support.” The federal courts have left it up to state legislatures to decide what a “modicum of support” should be in that state. As Arkansas had previously determined that a modicum of support for an independent candidate was 10,000 signatures, they are not free to define it differently for a political party candidate.

In what appears to be a partisan response however, the overwhelmingly Democratic-controlled Arkansas state legislature (75 Democrats, 25 Republicans), supported by the Democratic secretary of state, passed a new ballot access law in March of this year, HB2353, cutting the time to gather the 10,000 signatures from the 150 days allowed under the 3 percent signature law, to only 60 days. The bill’s proponents claimed this was because the independent candidates were only allowed 60 days to gather their 10,000 signatures, despite the fact only one independent candidate had ever qualified for the ballot under this law. The bill was approved 66-23 and removes the existing law’s provision that allows a party 15 days to gather additional signatures if petitions are rejected by the secretary of state.

Even though Arkansas has had fewer minor party and independent candidates on the ballot for governor and U.S. senator than any other state, during 1980-2004 the legislature declined to pass a compromise bill, advocated by the ACLU and the Green Party of Arkansas. This compromise bill would have allowed 120 days to both political party and independent candidates.

According to 2006 Arkansas Green attorney general candidate Rebekah Kennedy “the clear motive for this new ballot access law was to continue to make it difficult to put new political party candidates on the ballot. As a result, there is ample reason to believe the new law is unconstitutional because of the legislature’s clear intent to protect a political monopoly of the one political party — the Demopublicans!” Lendall, who testified against the bill agreed, “this would not benefit voters, particularly those who feel disenfranchised under the status quo.”

According to Kennedy, the Green Party of Arkansas believes it can succeed in its ballot access efforts despite this new law, and intends to place several candidates on the 2008 general election ballot, including Kennedy for U.S. Senate and several others for U.S. House. At the same time, the party is keeping its options open for a challenge to the new law in court.


Democrats Tighten Noose On Nader In Punitive Attack On “Third Party” Candidates
by Michael Richardson

“Major party interests naturally lean more toward rigging and sabotaging than insuring fair and competitive fights.”
– Mark Brown

The Democrats are tightening the financial noose around Ralph Nader for his failed bid to obtain ballot access in Pennsylvania during his 2004 Presidential campaign. Nader had been deprived a place on the ballot after extensive litigation brought by the Democrats, and was later assessed a hefty $89,821 penalty by the Pennsylvania courts to be paid to the Democrats for court-related costs. Nader appealed the assessment and was recently denied a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court. Emboldened, lawyers for the Democrats have now entered the costly order as a final judgment in an ongoing effort to enforce the penalty.

A Nader campaign attorney says about the post-election vendetta, “They have overreached and gone way too far. It is unprecedented.” The obvious chilling effect on independents and minor party candidates is not lost on Carl Romanelli, the 2006 Green Party would-be candidate for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania. Romanelli, too, has been hit by the Democrats with a huge bill for their costs in removing him from the ballot and has been ordered to pay $89,668.

If successful in Pennsylvania, Democrat legislators around the country will likely introduce similar punitive election laws in other states, particularly “swing” states, in a preventive effort to keep independents and minor party candidates off the ballot.

Capital University law professor Mark Brown has studied the 2004 legal wrangling that took Nader off the ballot in Pennsylvania and recently published a law review article on the affair. Brown discovered that the judge who favored the Democrats may have been motivated by animus toward Nader’s candidacy.

Nader needed 25,697 signatures on his nomination petitions to get a spot on the Pennsylvania ballot and submitted approximately 52,000. A week after filing the petitions the Secretary of State accepted Nader’s nomination after tossing about 5,000 signatures for various reasons. That same day, August 9, 2004, eight Democrat “objectors” represented by 24 lawyers challenged some 37,000 of the remaining signatures. After weeks of legal wrangling eleven judges were assigned the monumental task of a line-by-line review of Nader’s petitions.

Judge James Collins, who assessed the $89,821 bill, led the review declaring Nader’s petitions were “rife with forgeries” and that “this signature gathering process was the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated upon this Court.” Collins alleged “thousands of names” were “created at random”. Justice Saylor of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court disagreed. He declared the Nader campaign had not engaged in any kind of “systemic” fraud and only 687 signatures out of 51,273 had actually been rejected for forgery.

Brown has discovered that Judge Collins personally ruled that 568 of the 687 purported forgeries were fraudulent leaving the other ten judges to find only 119 forgeries. Collins and two of the other reviewing judges discarded thousands of signatures on very “technical and complicated” criteria including a missing middle initial, use of ditto marks, or mixing printing with cursive writing. Collins ended up rejecting 70 percent of the 10,794 signatures he reviewed.

Brown wrote in his law review article, “Moreover, the eleven judges who reviewed Nader’s signature submissions apparently employed different standards to invalidate signatures at alarmingly different rates.” In a footnote, Brown notes that 3,500 signatures were invalidated for unstated reasons.

Brown writes there was a “concerted Democratic program to purge Nader from the presidential ballot.” Further, “The lesson to be drawn from the 2004 presidential race is that neither major party can be trusted to police a general election ballot. Major party interests naturally lean more toward rigging and sabotaging than insuring fair and competitive fights.”

“The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court pressed just under a dozen judges into service at different locations over the course of two weeks to canvass 52,000 signatures submitted by the Nader campaign. This pushed the Nader campaign beyond its legal and technical capacity.

“Forcing lawyers to scramble among a dozen courtrooms in as many days to uphold an agency’s decision authorizing ballot access is neither measured nor productive. The practice is not only constitutionally objectionable, but it also facilitates a moneyed effort to veto a political outsider’s participation in the electoral arena,” Brown said.

Ralph Nader is still reviewing his options regarding the costly and punitive order issued by Judge Collins to punish his bid for public office.

Brown concludes his analysis of the Democratic legal attack on Nader, “I suspect that as long as America’s political system rewards an empty lust for power, politicians and judges will continue to turn blind eyes to fair procedures.”

Michael Richardson is a freelance writer based in Boston. In 2004 Richardson was Ralph Nader’s national ballot access coordinator.

Greening The Campus
College Trustee Advocates For Environment And Justice
by Mike Feinstein, Green Party of California

With the increasingly pressing dangers of global warming, and with buildings places where great progress can be made in the reduction of energy use, more and more Green Party candidates are promoting ways to ‘green’ the built environment.

With the opportunities for change inherent in public policy choices, some of the best chances to do this come on college campuses, as board of trustees are often able to directly approve green building standards for new construction.

Apparently many voters agree. On April 3, Vahe Peroomian became the second Green Party member in 17 months to be elected to a college board in Los Angeles County. Peroomian won re-election to the Glendale Community College (GCC) Board of Trustees, having first assumed the seat through appointment in June 2005.

Glendale is a community that has already embraced green building, and Peroomian’s presence on the Board further affirms that. With GCC poised to spend bond money approved in 2002 for campus expansion, Peroomian supports all new buildings being held to LEED Platinum standards. LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Platinum is its highest rating.

In addition to the environment, Peroomian is also about equity of opportunity. He seeks to find innovative solutions to the prohibitive cost of textbooks for students, including directing the College to standardize textbooks for introductory courses and identifying free/online resources for as many classes as possible.

He also advocates more online courses for students unable to attend college during traditional class hours, as well as vocational programs that serve the needs of students and the Glendale business community Ñ and has taken the initiative to better identify how to do just that.

Peroomian also believes that College faculty and staff should better reflect Glendale’s diversity. While GCC’s student population almost exactly reflects the ethnic proportions in the city: 35-40 percent Armenian and 20 percent Latino, he feels the number of Armenian and Latino faculty members is too few, and advocates advertising open positions in ethnic newspapers and TV programs, so those respective communities would be more aware of existing opportunities.

Understanding that education is dependent upon state and national government support, Peroomian pointed to the endorsement of his candidacy by both local State Assemblymember Paul Krekorian and Anthony Portantino, Assembly Chair of Committee on Higher Education Ñ whose districts coincide with the that of GCC Ð as well local Congressional member Adam Schiff.

Looking to next year, Peroomian supports Californians for Community Colleges, a statewide constitutional amendment for the June 2008 ballot. The three-pronged ballot measure would 1) address structural deficits in the funding of community colleges by providing them an independent source of funding; 2) reduce student fees to $20 per unit and put a cap on future increases and 3) give local Board of Trustees more authority by establish California Community Colleges in the state constitution.

Outside of elected office, Peroomian, 42, obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from UCLA in 1994. He is an Associate Research Geophysicist at UCLA specializing in space plasma physics and space weather, with funding from NASA and the National Science Foundation. He also teaches freshman physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA.

Peroomian became a Green around the time of the 2000 election, because he felt that “neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are properly serving our people. Many of my beliefs are exactly those advocated by the Green Party, including universal health care, social justice, and living wages.”

Coming from an Armenian family, Peroomian is also active in the Armenian National Committee, which is the largest grassroots Armenian-American political entity, and he sees a parallel between his involvement there and the Green party’s grassroots efforts.

Glendale has the highest percentage of Armenians of any city in the United States, and is home to the third largest Armenian community (approximately 80,000) outside of Armenia overall, after Moscow and Los Angeles.

Between 2002 and 2006, Peroomian traveled back to Armenia seven times. A talented photographer whose works have been featured in several exhibitions, he chronicled that experience on his web site Evidencing his love of nature and landscapes, his site also features numerous photos of Yosemite National Park and other such places.

Next door to Glendale is the city of Pasadena, where in November 2005, fellow Green Hilary Bradbury-Huang was elected to the Pasadena Community College Board of Trustees. Also an advocate for green building standards and better connecting the business and education community, Bradbury-Huang beat a 27-year incumbent Republican to win her seat. Born in Ireland, she was originally introduced to the Green Party while living in Germany in the 1980s.

With Peroomian’s re-election, eight Greens holding now elected office in Los Angeles County. Along with Jackson County, Oregon this is the second-highest in the nation behind Cumberland County, Maine which has ten.

Pullano Campaign for Mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania

Reading, Pennsylvannia is not just hosting this year’s national meeting. It is also home to an energized Green campaign for mayor. Jennaro Pullano, the endorsed Berks County Green Party candidate has already achieved a great deal of success in his seven months of campaigning.

With the May primaries over, Pullano is looking to beat Democratic incumbent Tom McMahon, who only received a third of the votes from his party, and unsuccessful perennial Republican candidate Keith Stamm.

“This looks really good for me,” said Pullano. “Our campaign has been out on the streets, talking to over a thousand super voters, which is 10 percent of the voters who vote in every election. There is also a lot of dissatisfaction with the current administration. In April and May we are already polling near 50 percent with those voters. And it’s spring, early summer, remember!”

Dave Baker, Pullano’s campaign consultant, stated, “People remember us from two years ago, when we nearly won a city council seat with 48 percent of the vote. We also reached out to a lot of voters last year, when we attempted to have Pullano appointed to that council seat, when the sitting councilperson decided to step down. A lot of the people in that district didn’t appreciate the council appointing the mayor’s former secretary. This can only help strengthen us come November.”

A recent highlight to the campaign was an appearance by Pullano on local community television during primary night. Pullano presented what he as a candidate for mayor wants to see done. His message reverberated with the viewers as several call-ins contributed their agreement and support. The campaign is working to have a clip from the TV spot up on the website. “I hit that one out of the park,” Pullano beamed as he walked off the set.

One main snag is the strain of the national Green Party annual conference on the local Greens. With four Berks Greens and several PA Greens preoccupied with the July event, some volunteering efforts for the local campaigns have been weak Pullano said, “We still need to speak to eight thousand or so Reading super voters, shake their hands and let them know we are here. Our finances to produce literature and achieve campaign goals are not up to the level we need to be successful. The convention is definitely hurting our abilities to excel in these areas We are hoping some of the visiting NC delegates will be inspired by what we are doing, and come out to give us an hour or two on the streets and spread the word, by going back to doors or phone-banking and speaking to voters where we have only dropped literature.”

For information:

{editor’s note: this article was written for the Summer issue of Green Pages. Since this was published, Cynthia McKinney has registered as a Green in California and has announced her intention to seek the Green nomination for President. While Ralph Nader has yet to declare his intentions, a Draft Nader group has been formed.}

Getting Ready For The 2008 Presidential Campaign Now

by Greg Gerritt, GPUS Presidential Campaign Support Committee

With the congressional Democrats having failed to end the Iraq War, there is potentially a great strategic opportunity for the Green Party.

Is America anxiously waiting for a Green presidential candidate to step forward carrying the banner for getting the United States out of Iraq and stopping global warming? Or is the Green Party irrelevant and, no matter who runs, will be completely ignored in 2008? Perhaps the answer lies in between, with new opportunities and challenges for the Green Party on the presidential campaign level, depending upon how it is prepared to address them?

For a young and growing party like the Green Party, presidential politics can be a daunting task. While having to operate in a playing field primarily dictated by the two major parties, even the process within the Green Party for recruiting and choosing candidates is a work in progress.

Part of this can be attributed to the young age of the Greens Party of the United States and its lack of familiarity with a contested nomination process. But part of it is also due to the fact that unlike the Democrats and Republicans, the Green Party does not have major party status in every state, and thus does not have state-run presidential primaries in most states. As a result, most state Greens must create their own process from the ground up, based upon the legal and organizing realities particular to their own situation.

The Candidates

As of early June 2007, nine individuals have indicated their interest in seeking the Green Party nomination to the GPUS Presidential Campaign Support Committee (PCSC): Sheila Bilyeu of Washington DC, Elaine Brown of Georgia, Michael Jingozian of Oregon, Jesse Johnson of West Virginia, Paul Kangas of California, Jerry Kann of New York, Kent Mesplay of California, and Kat Swift of Texas. They have all expressed specific interest in seeking the nomination. The likely quality of the campaigns is uneven, with some already actively organizing, and others with little prospects of pulling together an effective campaign. Some Greens are encouraging high profile potential candidates like Ralph Nader and former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney to enter the race, but neither have yet publicly joined the fray.

The Process

The PCSC is already responding to inquiries from declared and potential candidates, providing information on the various paths to nomination in each state and encouraging them to proceed with their campaigns, so Greens can make informed choices. In each state, candidates are directed to existing state party contacts, so each candidate can approach them to begin to grow their campaign, including soliciting funds and finding volunteers. As part of this process, the PCSC is also putting together a forum for all declared candidates to speak at the GPUS annual national meeting July 12 in Reading, Penn., so the candidates can speak to and meet Greens from all across the country. To qualify for this panel, prospective candidates must fill out a PCSC questionnaire that asks about their stances on various issues and the type of campaign they seek to run.PCSC is also working with state parties to understand what they are expected to do in the course of the 2008 campaign, such as: create a democratic process for electing delegates to the National Nominating Convention in 2008, allocating their delegates to the various candidates for the nomination in the vote at the convention, and placing a nominee onto the ballot.

The PCSC has already developed a preliminary handbook for state parties, and is developing a more comprehensive manual including model documents for the delegate selection process. This time there is a strong push to get this process done soon to avoid the difficulties experienced in 2004 process, where some of the rules were written on the state and national level after people had already begun to take sides on various candidates.

Ballot Access

According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, only ten or eleven states are likely to hold Green presidential primaries, showing the how the rules and requirements for a presidential candidate vary tremendously from state to state. In most states ballot access will depend upon a petitioning process, which in some states can be extremely difficult to achieve without a tremendous amount of money. (The petitioning requirements are published To ensure the greatest possible success in this endeavor, the PCSC and the GPUS Ballot Access Committee are working to ensure these qualification drives begin early, and are as organized as possible.

A Look Ahead

What challenges and opportunities will 2008 bring for the Green Party? With the congressional Democrats having failed to end the Iraq War, there is potentially a great strategic opportunity for the Green Party, depending upon how the presidential campaign — and the US-led war and occupation — play out. At the same time, regardless of what happens abroad, the right national Green campaign can synergize with local and state efforts to build the party and advance other Green issues like stopping global warming, enacting universal health care and promoting a living wage for all workers. This chapter in U.S. Green history has yet to be written. Whatever its outcome, it’s likely to be good reading.

Going Pro with a Consultant
Green Campaign Consultants Share Their Perspective
by Greg Gerritt, National Committee member, Green Party of Rhode Island and former GP-US National Secretary

“There is a lot of joy in being Green, and that carries over to our campaigns.”
— Lynne Serpe

“We work with candidates to create a plan that basically prioritizes their resources.”
— Sharon Gilpin

In all but the smallest of electoral districts, Green candidates can’t win by themselves. Not only do they require volunteer support, to truly compete they often need to hire campaign professionals who understand the mechanics of running a viable campaign.

Among the vanguard in this field is a small but growing number of Greens who are not only activists, but actually campaign consultants themselves. Maine Green Ben Chipman is one such example. Chipman has worked for numerous Green candidates since 2001, helping them target mailings and phone calls, design literature, organize volunteers, go door to door, and get out the vote.

Among his clients were victorious Portland School Committee candidates Ben Meiklejohn (2001), Stephen Spring (2003) and Susan Hopkins (2005), as well as State Representative John Eder (2002, 2004). Chipman also helped manage the 2002 gubernatorial campaign of Jonathan Carter and Green state legislative candidates in 2004 and 2006.

Lynne Serpe is another, albeit more well-traveled. Serpe has not only worked for Greens in California, New Mexico and New York, but also in Canada and New Zealand. She’s known to do a bit of everything, depending on the campaign and the candidate. “Local races, where I am the sole paid staff, I do it all,” she said. “In larger races, I can hire people to do media or fundraising or whatever I might need, as well as find interns.” However, Serpe draws the line at baby-sitting for the candidate, but she will find a volunteer.

Serpe started in New Mexico in 1994 by working on the Roberto Mondragon/Steven Schmidt Governor/Lt. Governor campaign. After stopping off to co-coordinate Green national gathering in 1995 (Albuquerque) and 1996 (Los Angeles), she then coordinated the California campaigns of Sara Amir (Lt. Governor, 1998), Audie Bock (elected, State Assembly, 1999), John Strawn (Santa Barbara City Council 2001) before moving to New York to work on the New York City campaigns of Gloria Mattera (Brooklyn Borough President, 2001) and Robin Sklar (City Council, 2003). In 2004, Serpe capped this off by becoming national organizer for Green presidential ticket of David Cobb and Pat LaMarche, a campaign that not only demanded winning votes, but also winning the Green nomination in the first place. When the Cobb/LaMarche team took the lead in pushing for the post-election Ohio recount, Serpe organized election observers and other key tasks in each county.

Sometimes Green consultants focus on a very specific part of a campaign, as Blair Bobier did as Media Coordinator of LaMarche’s 2006 campaign for Maine governor, in which she received nearly ten percent of the vote. “Pat loves research and statistics and knows exactly what kind of policy she wants. I collected information from her and turned it into policy papers, website content and press releases. I also traveled with her, took photos and interviewed people for the website, and even served as an interim campaign manager for a while.”

In addition, Bobier was instrumental in the LaMarche campaign’s legal effort to close huge loopholes in Maine’s Clean Elections laws that were being exploited by the Democratic and Republican candidates. “We took our case all the way to Maine’s Supreme Court. Though we didn’t prevail, we won the support of every editorial writer and columnist who weighed in on the subject. After the election, our position was also embraced by the state agency that oversees the Clean Elections Act.

Yet because the number of Green candidates who choose to and can afford to hire consultants is still limited, Green consultants generally have to supplement their income. In Chipman’s case, he worked for four years as the legislative aide to Eder and for five years as part time staff for the Maine Green Independent Party. He also worked on paid signatures drives for statewide ballot initiatives opposing clear cutting, promoting community-based water rights and giving students tax credits who chose to live and work in Maine after they get their degree. In Serpe’s case, she’s run electoral reform campaigns for proportional representation and instant run-off voting in three countries.

Given the limited number of Greens doing professional campaign consulting work, sometimes Green candidates have turned outside of the party for help, as successfully elected Santa Monica City Council candidates Mike Feinstein (1996, 2000) and Kevin McKeown (1998, 2002) did in hiring Sharon Gilpin of the Gilpin Group.

“We work with candidates to create a plan that basically prioritizes their resources,” said Gilpin, the only person interviewed for this article who makes a professional living as strictly a campaign consultant. “That’s what a good campaign consultant does. My background in marketing and film production, however, gives me a unique broad media background that I bring to bear for my clients.”

Each consultant commented on the passion of Greens, their willingness to persevere in a very tough political environment and their concern for the issues. “Being passionate, being likable, having integrity and being willing to work really hard against so many barriers” are all Green campaign strengths, according to Serpe. “There is a lot of joy in being Green, and that carries over to our campaigns. If we combine our increased savvy with creativity, hard work and hope, I think we will continue to grow.”

However, Gilpin echoes the other consultants in identifying the weakness of Green candidates as a “general unwillingness to raise money for direct mail and media tools that can persuade voters in our super distracted society.”

Are consultants looking forward to in the next election cycle? Bobier and Gilpin are enthusiastic about looking for candidates to help. Chipman primarily works in Maine and is hopeful the Maine Green Independent Party will keep him busy. Serpe does a lot of nonprofit work, is keeping her options open and is always willing to give advice.

If any Green candidates are looking for people to help a campaign take it to the next step, there are at least a few consultants ready to help. Don’t be surprised if over the next few years there are more and more Greens making a living, helping Green candidates to get elected.

Taking Free Speech to the Highway
Protesters in Houston Call for Impeachment
by Christine Morshedi, Green Party of Texas

Don Cook is a free speech fanatic. He speaks through a myriad of buttons on his straw hat, the stickers on his car, and, most recently, by holding signs from a bridge over Houston’s Southwest Freeway during rush hour. Cook is not alone. An alliance of progressive groups and individual Houstonians has maintained a weekly schedule for Houston-style “freeway blogging” for more than a year.

On March 20, to observe the fourth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, more than 300 protesters covered the six Montrose-area overpasses. The Harris County Green Party co-sponsored the event with eight other organizations. Through the afternoon rush hour, they displayed a variety of signs calling for peace. At dusk they joined in a candlelight vigil commemorating all who have sacrificed in Iraq.

Reaction of city government has been mixed. When one Houston city council member tried to have freeway blogging curtailed, 17 supporters appeared at the April 10 council meeting to make the case for free speech. In closing, Art Browning of the Green Party told council members to expect submission of a citizen petition to impeach Cheney first, and then Bush. None of the council members present spoke against free speech.

Houston freeway bloggers literally stand by their signs. Unlike online blogging featuring photos of signs, these bloggers physically hold the signs to comply with a local ordinance against attaching objects to overpasses Ñ often under the watchful eyes of the Houston Police Department.

Houston freeway bloggers kicked off National Impeach Day, April 28, the evening before. Protesters holding large “Impeach” signs populated all six overpasses. Hundreds of motorists, passengers, truckers and bus drivers honked, waved and flashed peace signs in support.

A few drivers disagreed. With multiple bridges to crawl under during traffic, disgruntled commuters had time to scribble signs in response to bloggers. One read, “Get a Job!” Cook, who retired on September 11, 2001, shrugged it off. Free speech is for everyone. Browning agrees, “Do not fear seditious words. Speak up!”

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