Berkeley Daily Planet
Weekend, July 20-21, 2002
Page 4

Family values best learned from family

To the Editor:
A recently drafted ordinance regulating the hours during which Community Cable TV can air so-called indecent material is coming before the City Council for a first reading on July 23. This unconstitutional legislation should be defeated in accordance with Councilmember Spring's recommendation.

I understand and sympathize with the goal of making sure our youth are exposed to positive values, but as a licensed Marriage Family Therapist, I am convinced that this is done most effectively through honest and clear communication within the family, not through misguided government intervention. The resources which would be required to administer the proposed ordinance would much better be spent on social programs to address the many unmet needs of families in distress in our community.

While some may find the material on certain shows currently airing after 10 p.m. to be unsavory, our biggest responsibility if we value free speech is to defend freedom of expression even of views we personally disagree with. Indeed, this is when we must be especially vigilant to ensure that our personal reactions do not get in the way of the reasonable exercise of our fellow citizens' first amendment rights.
Noted civil liberties attorney Jim Chanin has pointed out serious constitutional problems with the proposed ordinance, and he has made it clear that if the City of Berkeley passes such legislation it will be challenged in the courts, leading to costly litigation. In these times of fiscal constraints on the City budget, it is more imperative than ever that we use our resources wisely.

Berkeley councilmembers should spare the City from unnecessary and costly litigation and from the embarrassment of legislating some of the most conservative standards in the nation at a time when all our civil liberties are under attack due to the actions of right-wing Attorney General John Ashcroft. They should stand in Berkeley's proud tradition of free speech and vote No on the proposed ordinance.

Nancy Carleton

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