A Democrat on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission has urged campus restrictions on First Amendment-protected speech because, he believes, the still-developing brains of college students cannot properly process certain dangerous ideas.
The civil rights commissioner is Michael Yaki, a former senior adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The civil rights commissioner said he favors outlawing speech that would be grossly unpopular, such as “a slave auction at a fraternity engagement” or a celebration of Latino culture that involves “making everyone dress as janitors and mop floors.”
Yaki also wants to turn Miss America-type pageants into campus speech crimes. He expressed his belief in the unacceptable dangers of “a situation involving women” in which they “parade around in skimpy clothing and turn in some show or something.”
In embarrassingly vague fashion, Yaki struggled mightily to make some kind of coherent point at the civil rights commission hearing.
“I mean where do you think you can, that the university can’t deal with ensuring the route it has environment that is not oppressive or hostile because obviously a campus, especially certain types of campuses where there’s a lot of — where — that are geographically compact, that have a lot of working and living situations in a close area to create a campus atmosphere,” the language-addled law school graduate stuttered.
“Doesn’t that gravitate toward having greater ability to proscribe certain types of conduct that have the ability to escalate beyond what anyone would consider to be reasonable or acceptable?”
Yaki, who spent many of his formative years in highly authoritarian countries, then distinguished himself from fellow garden-variety progressives who seek to criminalize ideas they don’t like by, hilariously, suggesting that his repressive views are backed by scientists (and citing a Supreme Court case concerning the death penalty).
“It has to do with science,” Yaki confidently explained. “More and more, the vast majority, in fact — I think — overall in bodies of science is that young people, not just K through 12 but also between the ages of 16 to 20, 21 is where the brain is still in a stage of development.”
He went on to argue that “the juvenile or adolescent or young adult brain processes information” in ways that are “vastly different from the way that we adults do.” Consequently, he proclaimed, “when we sit back and talk about what is right or wrong in terms of First Amendment jurisprudence from a reasonable person’s standpoint, we are really not looking into the same referential viewpoint.”
The civil rights commissioner then laid out his sweeping, anti-free speech conclusion.
“There are very good and compelling reasons why broader policies and prohibitions on conduct in activities and in some instances speech are acceptable on a college campus level that might not be acceptable say in an adult work environment or in an adult situation,” he said.
“Yaki’s claim that speech should be especially restricted on campus ‘because of the unique nature of a university campus setting’ turns basic free speech principles upside down,” Bader wrote in a recent essay. “Free speech is especially vital on college campuses, where students can learn how to deal with opposing points of view in a civil and constructive manner.”
A former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was sued today by the city for allegedly violating its laws regarding lobbyists when he contacted city officials on behalf of a company.
Michael Yaki, who also currently serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, was sued by City Attorney Dennis Herrera today for more than 70 alleged violations of the city’s lobbying ordinance earlier this year.
According to the city attorney’s office, Yaki was representing the company Rescue Air Systems Inc. during the legislative process to revise the city’s fire code but failed to register as a lobbyist, failed to disclose amounts and sources of payments for his lobbying and failed to report lobbying contacts.
“Yaki flouted the lobbyist ordinance in every way,” the city attorney said in the complaint filed today in San Francisco Superior Court.
Herrera noted that Yaki himself voted to support the ordinance in 2000 when he was on the Board of Supervisors.
“The evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Yaki brazenly flouted a law with which he had no excuse to be unfamiliar,” Herrera said in a statement.
Yaki was appointed to the board’s District 1 seat by then-Mayor Willie Brown in 1996 and was elected a year later, then lost his re-election bid in 2001. District 1 covers the Richmond District and other neighborhoods on the western end of the city.
Yaki denied wrongdoing in the case in an email.
“There is an exception within the ordinance allowing attorney representation, and as an attorney I worked within the parameters of the ordinance,” he wrote. “I look forward to positively resolving this matter with the City Attorney.” The lobbyist ordinance allows for civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation.
The complaint against Yaki includes 15 declarations from current members of the Board of Supervisors, legislative aides, fire commissioners and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, according to the city attorney’s office.
The San Carlos-based company he represented manufactured a “firefighter air replenishment system” that was required by the city’s fire codes for new buildings 75 feet tall or higher.
Yaki sought to extend the requirement, but was opposed by Hayes-White and other fire officials who said the department had never used or trained on it because they did not have confidence the air in the replenishment system was breathable, according to the city attorney.
The board eventually voted to alter the requirement to offer developers the option of installing the system or a firefighter service elevator that would facilitate oxygen delivery.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News
Thank You one and All.
San Francisco Richmond District Supervisor.
Some of the Same SF Turf represented in the Ca. State Senate by Alleged Gun Runner Leland Yee(9)