This is an excerpt of a speech I’m giving at the Rotary Club Wednesday morning, as the papers get delivered.

Pete Seeger said, “After visits to several Communist countries (USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Slovenia, East Germany, Vietnam, China, Cuba), I feel strongly that most ‘revolutionary’ types around the world don’t realize the importance of freedom of the press and the air, a right to peaceably assemble and discuss anything, including the dangers of such discussions.”

Arthur Schopenhauer said, “Freedom of the press is to the machinery of the state what the safety valve is to the steam engine.”

Alan Dershowitz said, “We don’t have an Official Secrets Act in the United States, as other countries do. Under the First Amendment, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association are more important than protecting secrets.”

And then someone gave this statement:

“Why should freedom of speech and freedom of press be allowed? Why should a government which is doing what it believes to be right allow itself to be criticized? It would not allow opposition by lethal weapons. Ideas are much more fatal things than guns. Why should any man be allowed to buy a printing press and disseminate pernicious opinions calculated to embarrass the government?”

Who authored that statement? Vladimir Lenin did.

Tennis player and coach Martina Navratilova said, “In Czechoslovakia there is no such thing as freedom of the press. In the United States there is no such thing as freedom from the press.”

But another non-journalist just wrote: “I believe it is critical to our democracy and our way of life that we have a strong, vibrant media and that it continues to function as the Fourth Estate.” That was from the surgeon who just bought the LA Times and San Diego Union Tribune: Patrick Soon-Shiong.

I just wanted to give you some quotes from famous people about their opinions of freedom of the press.

And now, I’ll give you my own humble ones.

For one, you know that I strongly and aggressively support local government transparency and the survival of the Town Crier for the communities on the Hill. I not only support strong coverage of our nine Brown Act bodies on the Hill as well as other local government, but I also support the coverage of what people are doing in our communities, whether it be in the arts, on our roads or in crime.

Without TC investigations, Paul Black might still be selling local water to off-Hill bottling companies; you probably would not have received updates during the Mountain Fire; the Mountain Fire investigation probably would not have been reported to the community; PCWD probably would not have received both the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence and the District of Distinction Accreditation from the Special District Foundation; the secretive Tom Lynch would probably still be the IWD manager; we would not have learned how IFPD and the city of San Jacinto went behind the scenes and public view in the formation of a proposed JPA to provide fire and ambulance service to that city, etc. We know how important a free press is to you.

Becky Clark, Editor