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Photos: The Amy and Cassandra Show, Back on the Road

Scott's Valley banner gals Amy & Cassandra were at it again this morning, bannerizing highway 17.
Scott's Valley banner gals Amy & Cassandra were at it again this morning, bannerizing highway 17.
Their press conference at the clock tower turned into, of all things, a REAL press conference. There were 3 other video teams there, 2 from big media and 1 from public access TV. Plus a handful of shutterbugs. No doubt the Metro was in there, and maybe even the Sentinel.

Emboldened by a recent memo sent out by CalTrans HQ to its various district offices, management at the California Department of Transportation decided just shortly before the anniversary of 9/11 to change its policy yet again.

Originally, their policy of selective enforcement - officially allowing American flags (and then in practice workers also allowed anything pro-American or against America's supposed enemies) - got them hauled into federal court by the dynamic duo.

A federal judge agreed w/ their argument that the selective removal of only some political speech, created a "public forum" in which 1st Amendment rights were thus present. CalTrans would have to decide on either all or nothing.

They chose nothing, and asserted that henceforth *all* banners would be removed "in the interests of safety".

Then conveniently just short of 9/11, they changed their mind again. With the federal judge breathing down their neck asking for proof of compliance with his orders of equal enforcement, CalTrans HQ sent out a memo to all districts. New policy effective immediately was to leave up all banners that are "safely secured".

Thus the Banner Gals returned with a vengeance. Armed now with a whopping 8-10 new banners and a crew of volunteers, they announced their intention to blaze a trail of protest from here to San Francisco, where they had another press conference scheduled a few hours later.

By 3p, both Scott's Valley banners had been removed by persons unknown, though this time they appeared to have survived up to 4 hours. In the past, an average banner lifespan was less than an hour - sometimes less than 10 minutes.

At 6p, a 3rd banner at Summit Rd overpass towards San Jose was still hanging.


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Banner day cut short in county; anti-war messages go up; come down

A good report. I only see 2 errors:

1) "The judge ruled in January that Caltrans had to have a "content-neutral" policy for flags and banners on state highways, and last month the state agency decided to allow both as long as they arenít a hazard for

This is misleading, in that it omits an event in between these 2, to wit: CalTrans, after losing in federal court, declared their new policy to be 100% removal. It wasn't until a week or so before the anniversary of 9/11 that they conveniently reversed their policy.

2) "By late afternoon, the "Gulf War II" banner was gone. But the "Invest in caring" sign remained. So did a banner posted on the Granite Creek Road overpass on Highway 17."

Another misleading ommission. While I suppose 3:44p can be called late afternoon, the Granite Creek banner was also removed between 3:45p and 4p by persons unknown - CHP, from the sound of it.

Which is odd, because the pedestrian area inside the overpass cant possibly be CHP jurisdiction - that's Granite Creek Rd. Why is SVPD passing the buck to CHP? Probably because CHP is less vulnerable politically to angry SV residents than SVPD.

Sentinel staff writer
SANTA CRUZ ó Two local free-speech activists trumpeted their legal victory over Caltrans on Thursday, organizing supporters to hang a dozen anti-war banners from highway overpasses from Santa Cruz to San Francisco.

But by mid-afternoon, some had been removed, turning their banner day into a celebration tinged with disappointment.


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