Editorial: Shame on the Port of Coupeville

The Port of Coupeville commissioners last week completed the trifecta of closed government.

First, they removed flyers from the Port kiosk advertising an event sponsored by Peace and Reconciliation, a pacifist group. Second, they adopted a new kiosk policy without any public discussion. Third, they wouldn’t let Peace and Recreation members speak Wednesday when the policy was adopted -- henceforth, the port kiosk on downtown Coupeville will be used only for port information. No more cluttering it up with music and arts promotions, museum classes, school events, outdoor education opportunities, or the occasional imported Muslim speaker. In other words, anything remotely interesting to the public or helpful to the taxpaying citizens of the town is banned.

Commissioners Ed Van Patten, Bruce Bryson and Benye Weber would feel right at home in the Port of Shanghai, where free speech no doubt is snuffed out just as effectively, although perhaps with more discussion.

Van Patten’s term expires soon. Hopefully his replacement, newly-elected Ann McDonald, will take it upon herself to educate her new peers about the importance of free speech, a free press, open meetings, and vibrant public kiosks.

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