UPDATED: Chip has altered us that the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board will be discussing the incident and First Amendment rights on Ellsworth at their monthly meeting Monday night.
After the jump, Chip Py's letter sent to various Montgomery County officials:
My name is Chip Py and this summer I was prevented from taking pictures on Ellsworth Drive in what is now trademarked as Downtown Silver Spring. I brought this to the County Council and Executives attention, staged a protest on Ellsworth Drive, drew the attention of the media and the American Civil Liberties Union. But I am sure that you are more than aware of all of that as you authored the attached document about the publics right to use Ellsworth Drive and their first amendment rights on what you,through this document,have determined to be public space.
The reason that I am writing you tonight is something that I find completely unsettling based on the events of this past summer. Tonight after spending all day campaigning for my candidate of choice in the upcoming presidential primary I stood on Ellsworth Drive and exercised my first amendment rights of handing out campaign literature. I was immediately stopped by security guards working for the Peterson Companies who told me that I could not do that around here. I presented the letter from County Executive to the guard who called her supervisor over and said the same thing that handing out campaign literature is not allowed on Ellsworth Drive.I showed him the letter and was directed to the office there the head of security told me that the "The Photography thing this summer got all blown out of proportion' and that 'we can't just let anybody do what ever they want on Ellsworth drive'.
Quite frankly I find this offensive, the mistaken policy of the company that has been entrusted to run a taxpayer funded public/private development was tested and proven to be wrong this past summer and now with out regard to the people of Montgomery County who worked hard to right this wrong we are now faced with the denial of First Amendment Rights again on what the County Attorney's office has determined to be a public street.
I appeal to you, The office of the County Attorney, as the rule of law in this county to seek an answer. What are the next steps here?? What do we as citizens need to do to protect our fundamental freedoms on the streets of our town??