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Controversy Over Agency's Suit Against Toll Road Foes

August 02, 1992

"We the people of the United States" live in a democracy. Or so I thought. I read that the Transportation Corridor Agency for the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor is suing the environmental groups that have opposed the corridor.

In other words, a government agency (the TCA) is suing the people for participating in a public issue to which the people are opposed. Public participation is part of the democratic process; if a government agency (in this case, the TCA) can sue the people for participating in the democratic process, then democracy is taking a back seat to Big Brother and letting him do the driving.

Everybody has a right to speak. Government agencies suing the people for exercising their right to freedom of speech are in direct violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. The issue here in this unprecedented lawsuit filed by the TCA against the environmentalists is not a toll-road issue but an issue concerning jeopardy of our constitutional rights.

JANIE COWLIN, Laguna Beach

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