Atlanta Progressive News Successfully Defends First Amendment

According to Matthew Cardinale’s facebook status, the City of Atlanta sought an injunction against his publishing the memos that we published here yesterday. Congratulations, Matthew and Atlanta Progressive News, and thank you for putting yourself on the line in defense of our First Amendment Rights and our rights as Georgia citizens under the Open Records Act.

In celebration, here are the long-form memos.

Memo 1

Memo 2 

Memo 3

Memo 4 was already complete but here it is again. 

We’ll have more on this once APN publishes a full account, but this is important to all Georgians. Maybe we’ll even post the youtube videos of Matthew rapping to City Council.


  1. Spacey G says:

    UPDATE: Matthew was NOT allowed to sing his latest song (not a rap this time) into public record yesterday while at the full city council meeting. Still in their EXTREME TODDLER stance, council kept public commenting away from Matthew (via long discussions or maybe even some more closed-door activity!) from the agenda/podium until AFTER 3pm, fully aware that he, Matthew, had a 3pm court date next door that he had to get to.

    Matthew, being the punctual person that he is, chose to go to his court date at 3pm, of course. (Which he subsequently won, as you’ve noted.) But not without council *security* being called in on him (a quiet, excessively polite dude who just likes to sing songs) by the council leadership’s staff when he complained about not being allowed to speak. Excuse me… sing.

    Can’t make this stuff up!

  2. Todd Rehm says:

    Well, the right to petition the government is part of the First Amendment too.

    I understand when groups of officials (a) try to ensure that comments are kept on topic in meetings that were called to address specific issues; or (b) limit the time allotted to individuals when its necessary to maximize the number of citizens who get an oppotunity to speak, but ACC is being childish and petty.

    And the fact that the “real” media is paying more attention to the latest flings of the Kardashians than something as fundamental as this proves the need for “alternative” sources of information and is why local website are kicking the life out of the moribund traditional big media.

    Frankly, if I were an elected officials, after listening to so many angry people at any given public forum, I’d welcome the comic relief provided by some musical entertainment.

  3. Spacey G says:

    There’s far more action at City Hall than in the Kardashians’ boobs. Beats me why they don’t send folk to City Hall/court for all this fun ‘n games. I guess they’ll, ATL media, bother to show-up when it all gets to the GA Supreme Court. Maybe. But then again, there could be another vandalized rabbit statue on the loose then too.

  4. Todd Rehm says:

    GD- If it’s because of the person involved, that should be irrelevant. Important First Amendment precedent has come about through Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell, and is no less important whether you like either or neither of the litigants.

  5. Spacey G says:

    They have every chance to get themselves ahead of the media curve. Matthew’s kinda like our Harvey Milk. He’s a great, passionate guy, just way outside of the mainstream. I hope he gets to sell the rights to his story one day… and make gazillions. He deserves every penny. ‘Cause he sure ain’t got no pennies right now. Please buy him a beer at the road show tonight. He’ll spend, literally, his last thin dimes on a MARTA fare to get to the party to meet, greet, network and just have some plain ‘ole fun. He deserves the best we can afford to give him.

    Imma go get my hankie now…

  6. Jack Jersawitz says:

    What is interesting about this City Attorney Kristin Denius is that she is a complete boob. Her advice to counsel, on one hand, sticks strictly to the language of the code; hence the statement that a meeting is open to the public only if there is a quorum present.

    She seems not to recognize that the Court has stated over and over again that the Code is to be broadly construed so that even discussion of matters that might be voted on by any partial government group constitutes an open meeting.

    She misses entirely the fact that in Jersawitz v. Fortson, where the Atlanta Housing Authority argued that the meeting in question (Where Jersawitz was expelled by AHA cops when he showed up with a video camera) was simply an ad-hoc group put together by employees without being arranged by the AHA Chair Fortson, who nonetheless was present, the court, again citing broad construction, said of a meeting inclusive of non-governmental figures and even some members of the public that if the discussion was as to matters that the Board might vote on it was subject to the Open Meetings Act.

    This Denius creature not only fails in seeing and advising of that very broad interpretation she also, herself, flirts with criminality and violations of the BAR’s Canons and Ethics when she suggests they can get around the law or avoid the law by ensuring they do not permit a quorum to be present.

    Surely, even by bourgeois standards, Atlanta government has descended into the very depths of corrupt and dishonest behavior.

    In the past you would never have seen a City Attorney publicly arguing with persons on the other side, but after the hearing and her abusive attempts to get Mr. Cardinale cited for contempt, that even after she acknowledged that the issue was moot because of prior publication before she slapped him with a restraining order, she engaged in a row in the Court’s hallway with a representative of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation who had shown up and actually took a seat beside Cardinale at the Plaintiff’s table.

    My information is that she is further threatening him, probably in the form of instructions that he is not to engage in conversation with her clients, public employees all.

    To my knowledge that has never come up, i.e., telling a journalist complainant in a lawsuit against a government that he, a constituent of her employees, cannot seek to engage her government employee clients in conversation, hence violating his rights as well as those of government employees.

    More fun to come.


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