Posted by EddyGo, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 1, 2010 at 10:04 pm
"The city's real goal is to silence me" ... Yes, Ideafarm's ideas are that radical and dangerous, powerful, unique and mind-blowing. The city government fears that Ideafarm will inspire a mass "awakening" once enough people have been exposed to his profound rhetoric.
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2010 at 10:08 am
Free Speech Defined:
Everyone has the right to say what they believe.
No one has the right to force others to listen.
IdeaFarm is one man's noble idea in search of a strategy and tactics that do not prompt MV's citizens to deluge City Hall with complaints.
He thinks it is the city's goal to silence him. Instead, it is the community's goal to remove the eyesore of worn out billboards with worn out messages that have worn out their welcome. I've spoken with him on several occasions, and also logged multiple calls to City Hall.
IdeaFarm: Please stop fighting your intended audience. You might find more people willing to listen to what you have to say.
Posted by 1st Amendment Defender, a resident of another community, on Dec 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm
It is always easy to defend the right to free speech by someone you admire. It is more challenging to defend the rights of others who are different and/or you do not agree with. Surely Mountain View can find a safe place where Ideafarm can have his say without violating any city ordinance.
Posted by Jeff, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm
Dear 1st Amendment Defender - yes, that is how it should be. But that is moot because this fellow refuses to play by the rules (i.e. keeping within the guidelines that support free speech while not trampling on the rights of others and the public right of way). This then becomes not a free speech issue but one of civil disobedience, which is a different form of protest that might not enjoy the protections of free speech.
Posted by Concerned Resident, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm
While I respect everyone's right to free speech, this person known as "Ideafarm" has gone way beyond his rights, and I am convinced that he is consciously provoking the ire of residents and law enforcement alike with his actions. There is nothing against the law from being homeless, but Ideafarm believes it is his right to park his home (being used/disguised as his "billboard") anywhere he wishes. I saw him last week standing on top of his "shelter" at the corner of El Camino and Castro holding a large sign with his opinions. This is very dangerous because it is distracting to drivers. He is a lonely and bitter man, and I honestly believe he is mentally ill (schizophrenic, probably). But he's clever enough to try and make our police department into looking like the "bad guys" with respect to dealing with him. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up suing the department for harassment or some such thing to get money from the county. Beware!
Posted by David M, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm
I'm a little bit skeptical that the way the city is dealing with Mr. Ideafarm has nothing to do with the unusual nature of his message. If his message were SUPPORT POLICE UNIONS, would he be rousted like this?
My skepticism is very modest - I don't think either the city or the police are consciously choosing their response solely because of what he's saying.
I'm not encouraging any special exception for this gentleman, but can't we find a way to accommodate a marcher who's hearing a very different drummer?
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm
Excellent pairing of articles here in the E-Voice. How much of our limited police rescources are being spent persecuting Mr. Ideafarm? Next article about a woman robbed at gunpoint and beaten. Maybe we should allocate our assets a little differently.
Posted by NW Resident, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Saw him the morning of Nov 30th around 7:30 at the corner of Castro & El Camino, before his court appearance. He was with Doghouse #2 and dressed in khaki slacks, blue dress shirt, and tie. Didn't see the Doghouse the next day, so figured that it had been impounded. Not surprised that he's come up with another new platform for his signs.
Posted by Craig, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2010 at 4:58 pm
I don't mind sifting my way through panhandlers at Walgreens over there, and I don't care if he stands there with a sign trying to get me to read it. But I do object to his piling his trash in public areas, such as the street and the sidewalks.
Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm, a resident of another community, on Dec 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm Wo\'O Ideafarm is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
I would like to have an intelligent conversation here on some topic, chosen by someone other than me, that has some connection with the article. I will check this forum every few hours until the "party" winds down. Let's be friendly, have some fun, and get to know each other here. That, by the way, is what IdeaFarm (tm) Operations is all about.
Please consider posting using your first name and last initial, as David M. did above. Using our real names injects humanity into this and will change its look and feel.
There is no need to say anything negative about anyone. I stand in opposition to the municipal corporation that controls this land area and operates routinely as if it is above the law. But it (almost) never gets personal, and on those occasions where it does get personal, I apologize to my opponent the next time I encounter him or her.
Posted by Greg C, a resident of another community, on Dec 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm
Hey Ideafarm, I don't know much about the nature of your Doghouses (though I often see them in passing). But it sounds like the city and the police have a problem with them, both where you park them and how they are constructed. Have you considered buying a cheap used car, and attaching your billboards to the top of it? So that when you park your Dogcar or Carhouse on the street, it's not liable to be towed? Of course, I'm assuming you'd like to avoid being towed. Is that the case?
Better yet, buy and old van, and affix your billboards to the sides of it. Park it in legal spots, and move it as often as need to be comply with the rules. Voila! No more harassment for what, when and where you're parked.
Posted by Steve Hays, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 2, 2010 at 9:06 pm Steve Hays is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
Ideafarm: while I support your goal of raising awareness in the public, I completely disagree with your methods. I would really appreciate if you chose alternative methods and/or carried your message elsewhere.
The point made in a recent post about free speech makes a lot of sense to me "No one has the right to force others to listen." What is your response to that? How do you expect people to honor your rights when you don't honor ours?
I am an activist, but have learned over the years that throwing facts at people who have not chosen to have a conversation is ineffectual. The best way to manifest change is to be the change. I don't want to be like you, and so your message falls on deaf ears / blind eyes.
Maybe you need to plant your ideas in a different "farm" besides the public spaces of Mountain View. Get involved with people who are also committed to make a change, and/or display your message in a place that is designated as a place for political discussion (e.g. rallies, festivals, concerts).
Again, I appreciate your intention; but maybe the recent conflict is an indicator that you need to re-invent yourself and/or re-locate yourself.
Posted by Jes' Sayin', a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2010 at 12:37 am
People keep saying the words "the City" like it's some big corporate entity. But what is the City really? It's just all of us, the residents of Mountain View. We own it. We should be able to choose to exhibit a little tolerance if we wish to do so. Those boxes are parked in a very wide place in the sidewalk, don't take up much space and do not appear to be a hazard to anyone. As for distracting traffic, there have been many protesters over the years. I suppose you think they should all have been locked up and that the US should still be in Vietnam. Or is it only protesters who agree with your point of view who should be left alone?
Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm, a resident of another community, on Dec 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm Wo\'O Ideafarm is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
>> [southbaygal] "Please respect our neighborhood and city by abiding by our rules and city ordinances."
I expect to be acquitted of all thirty something charges. Some of the charges arise from law that is facially unconstitutional. Other charges arise from law that is unconstitutioanl as applied. The remaining charges are factually groundless. All of these charges are nothing more than malicious prosecution by a municipal corporation motivated by the politics of the situation, not by any real concern for safety.
>> [Greg C] "Have you considered buying a cheap used car, and attaching your billboards to the top of it?"
For years, I used a Dodge Caravan that I called the "Nautilus". It was fitted with signs, and later, refitted with a letter tile and track system similar to what I currently use. I gave that vehicle away on January 3. The most important problem with using a vehicle for spontaneous direct civic speech is that the Vehicle Code gives the police all sorts of opportunities to harass the speaker. Getting rid of the Nautilus and using bicycle trailers has effectively blocked this municipal corporation from using the Vehicle Code as a weapon of harassment.
>> [Steve Hays] "I completely disagree with your methods."
The general method of spontaneous direct civic speech used by IdeaFarm (tm) Operations is to place a bicycle trailez fitted with a letter tile and track system and equipped with a solar power system so that it can be attended 24x7 by its guard/operator. The key feature of this method of speech is that it is direct; the citizen speaker cannot be censored or silenced by an editor. News media that is funded by advertising is never going to give fair coverage to speech that directly attacks the news media industry itself or directly attacks the economic interests of the corporations that place ads. If you still "completely disagree" with this general method, please tell me more.
>> [Steve Hays] "No one has the right to force others to listen."
In our system, the speaker has a civic duty, but not a legal duty, to minimize what Justice Black of the U.S. Supreme Court called the "necessary nuisance" of speech. It is settled law that the audience cannot force the speaker to be silent. Those in the audience who do not want to receive the message must avert their gaze. If you and another motorist are driving next to each other as you pass the IdeaFarm (tm) Operations signs, the issue isn't really whether I have a right to force feed you my message. The real issue is whether you have the right to prevent the other driver from having the opportunity to read the sign.
[Jes' Sayin'] "People keep saying the words 'the City' like it's some big corporate entity."
I appreciate the remainder of your post, in which you point out that my sign equipment takes up only an insignificant portion of a very wide sidwalk. It is a nuisance, because people do need to walk around it and they do need to exercise some extra care. But I can't resist pointing out that the City of Mountain View is in fact a municipal corporation. I am the speaker of an unpopular message, a message that the majority is, and should be, hostile to. The First Amendment exists primarily for the benefit of such speakers. Speakers of popular messages don't need to be protected from the majority or from the legistlative branch that is, at least in theory, controlled by the majority.
Posted by Greg C, a resident of another community, on Dec 3, 2010 at 1:41 pm
Hey Ideafarm, I would be interested to know which sections of the California Vehicle Code the local police department has been able to use to charge you with violations. Given your impressively thorough knowledge of the law, I would not be surprised if you knew the section numbers by heart.
Posted by saejin, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm
If we can find room in our city for so many illegal immigrants, can't we tolerate one of our citizens? He is not using bull horns, He is not aggressive or intimidating. His signs look no worse than many of the store fronts on Elcameno. If we go down the list of things we care about changing ordered by what is important, I would think we run out of money long before we worry about Mr. Ideafarm. This is someone in the city that sees him as a personal issue. Thee is nothing rational about using any city resources to do anything with regards to Mr. Ideafarm. It makes one ask the question who cares (if anyone) bad enough to spend money that direction, and why?
Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm, a resident of another community, on Dec 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm Wo\'O Ideafarm is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
>> [Greg C] "which sections of the California Vehicle Code the local police department has been able to use [to harass you]"
These come to mind as I browsed the VC table of contents online just now:
VC 22651 (b) (f) (k) (m) various subsections (tow)
VC 21950 (b) pedestrians' rights and duties within a crosswalk
VC 21956 (a) walk on left hand side of highway
>> [saejin] "who cares... bad enough to spend money [to interfere with Ideafarm] and why?"
I view the street operation as a course in Political Economics that I am teaching to a regional audience. (Mountain View is a regional transportation hub.) My intent is to provide my "students" with a sequence of ideas that will enable them to understand their world in a new way and to see both new potentials and new means for achieving those potentials, both for themselves and for the United States.
1. The preaching part of the course (don't be selfish; be wholesomely connected) offends the majority, who don't want to be preached at as they drive to work.
2. My chosen lifestyle directly threatens an economic system based upon (a) government monopoly on the supply of housing and (b) forced demand to shake down both renters and homeowners with artificially high (due to monopoly pricing) housing costs.
3. My SANTA-SATAN sequences attacking our 30 day December shopping spree are the worst nightmares come true for retailers, as well as for government entities that depend upon sales tax revenues.
4. My THOUGHT STEERING sequences put advertisers and the thought steering industry on the defensive.
5. My development of a general method of spontaneous direct civic speech threatens the control that the thought steering industry has over the thinking of the population.
In short, I am a motivated and focused speaker determined to incite change, and this is a threat to anyone who has a vested interest in the status quo.
Posted by Steve Moran, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm
I read these stories with some humor but also some sadness. I mean seriously, is this really that high a priority for the the city.
There have been accusation of his actions presenting a danger. I would sure like to see some evidence to support that accusation and before you claim that people are distracted by his messages please also demand the city remove all other signs and billboards.
On the other hand . . . . he says he wants to have conversation, but my interactions with Wo\'O Ideafarm leads me to believe that mostly he is looking for disciples. I wish him the very best in seeking those disciples.
I continue to hope he prevails in his tussle with the city. I think he adds character to our community.
Posted by W-Park Dude, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2010 at 7:04 pm
You've fallen out of favor with the Voice with no articles the past two-weeks or so. Isn't it about time to do something outrageous to, in your mind, once again make you the cause celebre? Otherwise they'll have to lean on feel good holiday stories. I could care less about him, obviously he is not evil, just warped. Same with his signs and boxes, although I'm not sure that's what I want on the sidewalk of the town I've chosen to live in but that's not the point. I'd make the argument while the whole thing isn't dangerous until he chooses to stand on top of his box (when he had one) during rush hour traffic and wave a sign like the lunatic he is. I'm too busy keeping my eyes on the road and making sure a looky-lu doesn't rear end me but come on. I'd like to know if our police dept. has responded to any crashes due to his behavior. And those people that wave those commercial signs at Grant & El Camino and other locales are almost as bad. It takes all kinds and if we didn't have folks like this, our world would be a bit boring. So Mr. Ideafarm, I think we've grown tired of your act. Can you just move on please?