Democracy at risk

I am quite certain the overwhelming majority of the citizens of our city and country agree with Mr. Berry that our First Amendment rights are sacred. I believe Berry’s analysis of the source of the threat to the those rights is wrong.

Over the last few years, I have attended either personally or via Zoom, many Redlands Unified School District board meetings. Clearly, people of widely differing views have had the opportunity to be heard on issues that were of great concern to them. Hours were devoted to public comment for anyone who wished to participate.

Berry claims expertise on the Brown Act. If, as he asserts, there was some technical violation of the Brown Act it in no way changes the fact that people were able to articulate their concerns.

Berry goes on to complain about the “police checkpoints limiting access” to the meeting. What is more accurate is that reasonable security precautions were necessitated in the context of the volatility of emotions and threats that have been made.

Sadly, these security measures were appropriate, based on behavior that can be heard and seen on videos of many of the meetings over the past years. The videos are readily available on the district’s web site. Our police department acted to protect everyone’s safety and right to speak.

There is a real and critically dangerous attack on our First Amendment rights. It comes from zealots and ideologues who want to ban books, deny history and impose their particular religious views on all of us, including our children.

Steven A. Becker, Redlands