Today the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California joined the defense of Truong Van Tran, who leases a store in an Orange County shopping center, and was recently ordered by an Orange County Superior Court Judge to remove a picture of Ho Chi Minh and the current flag of the Republic of Vietnam from the walls of his store. The court issued the order on the grounds that the flag and picture, which caused protest in the strongly anti-Communist community in Westminster, is a public nuisance, which is barred by Mr. Tran's lease.

"We believe that the Court's order interprets the meaning of 'public nuisance' far too broadly, and in doing so, violates Mr. Tran's rights under the First Amendment and the 'Liberty of Speech Clause' of the California constitution," said ACLU attorney Peter Eliasberg. "The law is clear that controversial speech cannot be silenced on the ground that it is a public nusiance, even if the speech causes hostile reaction to that speech. Any other interpretation of the First Amendment would have a chilling effect on the rights of people to exercise free speech."

The ACLU, along with Mr. Tran's attorney Ronald Talmo, who has worked with the ACLU on numerous cases in the past, intend to file an opposition to the Shopping center's motion for a preliminary injunction this Friday, seeking to allow Mr. Tran to engage in protected speech once again, and requesting that the court deny any further injunctive order against Mr. Tran. A hearing on the preliminary injunction motion is scheduled for February 4, 1999 at the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana.

"Allowing a vague lease provision such as a 'public nuisance' to be considered a waiver of a fundamental constitutional right, sets a dangerous precedent," said Mr. Tran's attorney Ronald Talmo. It is sadly ironic that so many of Mr. Tran's critics left Vietnam in search of the very freedom of speech that they now seek to stifle.

Date

Thursday, January 28, 1999 (All day)

Show featured video/image

Hide banner image

Hide sidebar

Tweet Text

[node:title]

Related issues

Freedom of Speech and Government Transparency

Show related content

Author:
ACLU of Southern California

Wednesday, January 13, 1999 the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in Anderson vs Roe, California's challenge to the Ninth Circuit decison blocking the state from limiting welfare payments to new state residents.

The ACLU of Southern California, the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties represent defendants in this challenge along with the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. This is California's second attempt to reduce welfare benefits to women and children, many of whom are fleeing domestic violence in their states of origin.

Former Governor Wilson first tried to cut the benefits of new arrivals with a waiver from the Bush Administration in 1992, a scheme the ACLU of Southern California challenged in Green vs Anderson. The District Court declared that proposed policy unconstitutional in 1993 and the Ninth Circuit upheld the decision in 1994. The Supreme Court dismissed California's appeal in February 1997.

ACLU/SC legal director Mark Rosenbaum, who will deliver oral arguments before the Court said, "This case will decide whether our constitution treats newcomers as bonafide citizens. The Court's decision will affect women and children who come to California seeking to rebuild their lives, but who are faced with a two-tier system to penalize them for being victims of violence and abuse."

If California is allowed to reduce benefits to new residents for one year to the amount they would have received in their state of origin, a family of four from Mississippi, for example, would receive $144 a month rather than California. s allotment of $673.

Martha Davis, legal director of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund said, . This is a pivotal case for women fleeing domestic abuse who are forced to move across state lines in order to avoid stalking and violence. Our constitution guarantees that people will not be penalized for crossing a state border.

Date

Monday, January 11, 1999 (All day)

Show featured video/image

Hide banner image

Hide sidebar

Tweet Text

[node:title]

Related issues

Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Reform

Show related content

Author:
ACLU of Southern California

The California Department of Education, the Compton Unified School District and the plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Robert Myers of Newman. Aaronson & Vanaman and attorney Karl Manheim, today announced an agreement on improvement of school facilities and educational services in the Compton Unified School District.

The 16 page agreement places in abeyance, pending a comprehensive inventory of the district's needs, a lawsuit filed last July by the ACLU on behalf of parents with children enrolled at Compton USD. The first-stage agreement calls for the department and the district to ensure that school facilities are brought up to standards, and addresses other areas such as school security, community involvement, student promotion policies and adequate textbooks.

"We are pleased that Delaine Eastin, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Dr. Randolph Ward, State Administrator for Compton Unified School District, have taken bold action to improve the quality of education for all children in Compton," said Mark Rosenbaum, Legal Director for the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. "This historic agreement reflects their good intentions and the progress already underway demonstrates that they are moving the 29,000 students in the Compton School District closer to the equal educational opportunities they so clearly deserve."

Specifically, the agreement requires that a certified teacher will be present in every classroom on every school day and that any teacher hired after the agreement will be employed for no more than two years without passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test. The agreement calls for continued and expedited efforts in the following areas: (1) all broken and loose electrical wiring and fixtures will be repaired or replaced; (2) bathrooms will be safe, sanitary and operable; (3) all schools will remain clean and operational and free from graffiti; (4) all playground equipment will be repaired or removed if unusable; (5) broken windows will be replaced; and (6) drinking water will be available to all children.

The agreement will provide guarantees on school conditions and textbooks and will create site committees to help oversee facilities improvements. New district plans will be created to address school security and student promotion. The agreement also requires the ACLU and the district to collaborate to bring new parent volunteers into the district to help with site maintenance, tutoring and security.

Compton Unified School District has already begun implementation of many of the plans and provisions required under the ACLU agreement. For example, more than $16 million in modernization projects have been or will soon be completed at nine of the district's 38 K-12 campuses. To renovate many of the other aging schools, the district acted earlier this week to place a $107 million bond measure before voters in April.

To stem the threats of El Nino, the district has accelerated completion of 183 re-roofing projects, the result of an $8.5 million emergency repair plan begun in late 1996. A new textbook accountability system was implemented in September, and the district's textbook budget increased from $1.4 million to $1.95 million for 1997-98 school year.

A School Safety and Security Program, introduced in September, calls for random weapons screening on high school campuses, as part of a long-range plan to further reduce campus crime, which dropped 41 percent last year. The district has beefed up its uniformed police force and increased the number of security assistants by 40 percent in the last year.

In addition, Compton USD is introducing five new "student safety net" programs to provide additional tutoring, corrective reading, summer school, and test preparation for its neediest students. A new student promotion policy, based on reading ability, will be implemented in September.

Superintendent Delaine Eastin said, "I am pleased that all parties have agreed to work together to bring about the positive changes we all want for kids in Compton. By avoiding a protracted court proceeding, we can return now to devote our full attention and resources to educating youngsters."

Dr. Ward, who just marked his one-year anniversary as Compton's State Administrator, acknowledged the key role of the ACLU in raising community awareness of the needs of the school district. "After decades of neglect and mismanagement, the public is recognizing the plight of Compton schools. We have accomplished much in a short time, but we have only scratched the surface. I challenge every parent, teacher, business and community organization that has a stake in improving our schools-- work with us. We need your help now more than ever. Our kids need you."

Date

Wednesday, December 16, 1998 (All day)

Show featured video/image

Hide banner image

Hide sidebar

Tweet Text

[node:title]

Related issues

Education Equity

Show related content

Author:
ACLU of Southern California

Pages

Stay informed

ACLU of Southern California is part of a network of affiliates

Learn more about ACLU National
Subscribe to ACLU of Southern California RSS