STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
It’s Not Free Speech if You Don’t Have a License
By The Daily Bell Staff - May 03, 2017

Should free speech cover criticizing the government? That is kind of the whole point, right?

An Oregon man is suing Portland for violating his first amendment right to free speech after he was fined $500 for calculating how long yellow lights stay yellow and then speaking publicly about it.

Free speech? No. The city considers making and disseminating calculations about public works “engineering without a license.”

The lawsuit states:

This is a civil-rights lawsuit to vindicate the right of Plaintiff Mats Järlström to talk and write freely without fear of government punishment. Järlström wants to write and speak publicly about a matter of local, state, and nationwide concern: the safety and fairness of traffic lights and traffic-light cameras. Specifically, Järlström wishes to communicate about the mathematics behind traffic-light timing. If he does so in Oregon, however, he will be exposed to government investigation and punishment for engaging in the unlicensed “practice of engineering.” In fact, between February 2015 and January 2017, Järlström was investigated and fined for “critiquing” the standard formula for calculating traffic-light timing and for sharing his ideas with “members of the public.” Under Oregon’s Professional Engineer Registration Act (Act), Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 672.002 et seq., only state-licensed professional engineers are entitled to speak publicly on these sorts of topics. For everyone else—in the words of the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (Board)—sharing “reports, commentary, and testimony” on technical subjects is “clearly not protected speech.”

…But speech like Järlström’s is exactly what the First Amendment’s Speech and Petition Clauses exist to protect.

Obviously, the city is just trying to silence and intimidate him so they can keep making money off of red light cameras. His point was that the yellow lights were too short to properly allow motorists to stop.

By the government’s definition of free speech, you basically are not allowed to criticize or even petition the government at all.

What if this same standard was applied elsewhere in government?

We could easily get to a point where any speech about government actions is not protected unless you are an expert in the field–the government, of course, deciding who qualifies as an expert.

Should accountants be the only ones allowed to publicly advocate a tax policy?  Perhaps only licensed law enforcement could criticize the police. And surely if you are not a legislator, the intricacies of bills and laws are off limits to discuss.

What an open and public dialogue that would promote!

And as for the issue of traffic light cameras issuing tickets, that in itself should never have been permitted. The government takes a picture of a car and accuses the owner of a crime, regardless of who was driving the vehicle. And then, you must either pay the fine or prove yourself innocent! So much for due process. So much for the government having to prove you committed a crime. Innocent until proven guilty? What an inconvenience for a government!

There are various reports online of how to beat a red light camera traffic ticket. Even so, it will take multiple visits to the court, which waste time and money, and even then you might be forced to fork over the cash!

That is why most people just pay the fine, and forget about it. The system is rigged against the recipients of tickets. Everyone knows the time wasted in fighting a traffic ticket will overshadow any money saved if it is dismissed.

Still, if you have the time, and are bothered by the principle of it, it may be worth fighting the ticket to at least make the court work for its theft.

Interestingly, one of the tutorials online about how to fight traffic cameras suggests visiting the site of the infraction:

Time the traffic light as it transitions from yellow-to-red. If the timing is minimal, you might be able to stage an argument in court that there is not enough time to safely bring your vehicle to a stop at the particular intersection.

Would Oregon even allow this evidence in court? Perhaps they would instead slap and extra fine on top of the red light ticket for public engineering. After all, only state licensed engineers are allowed to testify publicly on technical issues.

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  • Praetor

    It is well know Portland Oregon is a communist strong hold, well entrenched communists run that state.

    This seems to be more a mathematical calculation, than an engineering method. Just find out how many street lights are in Portland, then observe say 10%/15%. You could come up with some pretty good averages on yellow light illumination time. More observation and math, than engineering.

    We all know what’s going on, thieving lying Bassturds. Oregon is run by the communists.!!!

    • Sven

      Isn’t this the same state that arrests people for gathering rain water from their roof tops?

    • jackw97224

      Lived in orygun for years and I can attest to the fact that it is infested with commie/socialist, loot A to satisfy B, crooked, dishonest Demoncrats.

  • Rosicrucian32

    He could have just yelled Allahu Ahkbar somewhere in his speech and they wouldn’t have done a thing………………….

  • Sven

    I fear for when people reach their breaking point. So far people are pretty stupid but things like this are happening all over the country and slowly, ever so slowly, the sleepers are waking up. Won’t be pretty.

  • eyesofgod

    Stupid bureaucrats! This seems typical of gov’t employees these days. They get a little power and it goes to their heads. They’re getting a steady paycheck, and so with their little power they want to wield it so they can feel important. They actually feel much of the frustration that everyone else feels in these Dark Times, times so steeped in scientific materialism, separatism, aggressive competition, and fear. There is no sense of our inherent unity. Egoity reigns supreme. Like the poet says, “Now the sun’s gone to hell and the moon’s riding high.”

  • jackw97224

    Governments run by people are criminal empires; they use aggression, force or violence to impose beliefs or opinions that are no shared by vast majorities of people. Government is organized crime and those who enforce things like Red Light Tickets, where there was or is no claim, i.e. there was or is no personal injury or property damage are criminals, that means cops and judges and the gd politicians who made the “laws.” What everyone needs to do is read Lysander Spooner’s No Treason No. 6, The Constitution of No Authority. Then visit Marc Stevens’ No State Project (videos on YouTube). These public servants have no factual evidence that the constitution and law apply to you just because you are physically present in some geographical location. Absent such factual evidence, there is no jurisdiction. The courts and cops are foisting a fraud on the people by fining them when there is no jurisdiction. Oh, an

    Oh, and factual evidence would come in the form of a sworn affidavit of truth stating what, when, where, why, how and by whom one was made “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”(14th Amendment); the conditions for citizenship.are found in that amendment. Oh, and one cannot be forced to accept citizenship or that would mean he is a slave. Oh, and if the state did not or does no fully disclose up-front the ramifications of any license, then that document is void ab initio and thus without validity and without merit and evidence of deception. Of course Mats Järlström is correct! The government is evil; it is immoral. But tragically, orygun is run by commie/socialist Demoncrats who are elected by commie/socialist, anti-Christian Demoncrats. Like so much of Amerika, the rot or “cancer” that is destroying freedom of choice has come from within as many have predicted. Bye Bye Miss America Pie. Freedom is just another word for nothin’ left to lose. A pox on the judges and politicians. Oh, and as far as anyone attempting to use the excuse that he is or was only following orders, I got some news, that Nuremberg Defense was found without merit in the War Crimes Trials in 1946-47. There is no escape for the wicked.

  • georgesilver

    Haven’t you worked it out yet? No? It’s war. We should all take the motto of Mossad:- “By Way of Deception, Thou Shalt do War”. It’s the state against the people… it always has been. Don’t fight the enemy on their terms. Fight them on your terms… by stealth and a low anonymous profile. Many of these cameras begin to malfunction after a while…. I wonder why.

  • Wow, that one is pretty horrendous. Smaller in amount although $500 is nothing to sneeze at either, but profound in its tyrannical implications.

    Tyranny by law.

  • FedUP15232

    This isn’t the point of your story, but red light cameras are generally scams. We’ve fought them in California and won. There are legally required timings for the yellows based on the posted speed limit. There is signage required. The record is supposed to be read by a cop. It’s usually read by an employee of the company that owns the cameras. These cameras are leased to the cities on a revenue sharing basis. It’s not about law enforcement. It’s about raising revenue.

    • FEEuser

      Well said!

  • notwithabang

    Next in Oregon: requiring a psychology degree in order to think.

  • FEEuser

    Oregon: all citizens must have a license to be alive.

    • Jack Exton

      Then, I must be dead.

  • What do you expect from the city of Portland, actual liberalism?

  • Steve

    Even though it costs money to fight, it must be fought – tyranny exists if people do nothing….the pinko commies need to understand that people wont be walked over.

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