William Denis Fitzgerald, Gadfly Suing Board of Supervisors for Limiting Speech, and His Weekly Past
Based on the struggles of William Denis Fitzgerald to speak at public meetings due to board-imposed time limits and censorship, his--and, by extension, the public's--constitutional rights are being violated, reads the complaint.
This was ensured, the complaint continues, by having an Orange County sheriff's deputy escort Fitzgerald out of the chambers in the first instance and stand next to Fitzgerald before Fitzgerald left the podium the second time.
"Supervisors John Moorlach and Janet Nguyen scolded Fitzgerald for being impolite, expressed their opinion that he lacked credibility, and told him they were in a position of authority over him," claims the ACLU.
Campbell then threw it over to Nguyen, who berated Fitzgerald as a sheriff's deputy stood next to him. According to the ACLU, Nguyen called Fitzgerald's comments "appalling" and "wrong" and that he was "not allowed to criticize members of any communities coming to this country, this great country, for their freedom and democracy."
Fitzgerald left before Nguyen finished speaking, and his treatment by the board chilled him from appearing at another redistricting hearing on Sept. 6, according to the ACLU, which notes the board ultimately adopted 1st District boundaries that guarantee more Vietnamese American voters.
Nguyen, Campbell and Moorlach are specifically named in Fitzgerald's complaint, which seeks to change the board's "Rule 46 and Speaker Guidelines" to make it clear the board does not prohibit speakers from expressing their opinions, even if supervisors and others may disagree.
Meanwhile, Fitzgerald should be familiar to longtime Weekly readers as a gadfly who has managed to get under the skin of Disney, the AQMD, Anaheim City Hall, the Anaheim Police Department and the Anaheim Fire Department.