The speech must go, San Francisco officials say -- but the ads, they will stay.
A series of bus advertisements denounced as hateful and discriminatory towards Muslims -- including one, paid for by a pro-Israel group, that attributes the statement "killing Jews is worship that brings us closer to Allah" to Hamas -- must remain on Muni vehicles, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
For a simple reason: the First Amendment. The speech, it's protected, the newspaper has duly reported.
The speech is "insulting and race-baiting," according to the Chronicle's C.W. Nevius, who warns that the city "can't" do anything about it aside from wag fingers, as a pack of politicians did earlier this week.
The ads, paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, have appeared in other cities, where judges blocked moves to take them down, the newspaper reported.
The ADFI is a hate group, the newspaper reported, and perhaps the ads could be removed because of the libel or slander they cause, Nevius muses. But no city official appears ready to shell out tax dollars to lawyers to "fight the good fight," he reported.
"We just don't believe it is right to spend the public's money over the American Freedom Defense Initiative's First Amendment rights," San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose. "We'd rather concentrate on safe and reliable service for our passengers."
Or, as Mayor Ed Lee intoned, "democracy in action."