Three years ago, here in Cleveland, Ohio, on the internet, I heard about a History lecture that was taking place in Port Townsend, Washington. And I said to myself, “Port Where”? I called the phone number for details and decided to go. I’m glad I went. The lecture was educational. A total of about fifteen men and women attended. During the days after the lecture, I was guided and toured around Port Townsend. Cozy’s a good word to describe the town. At-ease is how I felt. Gee, what a nice place to be!!! I gladly spent my money in the good restaurants and shops. A very pleasant Port Townsend person took us around to those restaurants and shops. He’d make an excellent travel tour guide. If it weren’t for my hearing about the lecture that was held at the Yesss Center, I wouldn’t have heard about Port Townsend. The tour guide that walked us around Port Washington was also the manager of the Yesss Center where the lecture was held. He was a good guy. His name is Erik Olson (Arhata Osho). He talked about his Free Speech display boards but I didn’t get to read his messages. During the years since my trip to PT, I’ve received Erik Olson’s email essays on his philosophy of Life. His essays make me think that more people should write about life like he does. Recently I’ve been reading about the new size requirements of Port Townsend’s Free Speech display areas. Please work out a kind and pleasant settlement with Erik Olson because there’s one thing that he likes and that’s Port Townsend. He’s one of your proudest residents and your best tour guide. Please figure something out. Work something out. Thanks to Erik Olson, I’m now tuned-in to Port Townsend. Over-and-out!!! Concerned and tuned-in from Cleveland!!!!! Jon Smetana
Someone is trying to set a precedent, and Arhata has become the whipping boy.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take this “Free Speech Display” subject seriously when the supposed complaints from the community were presented to the City Council. I had spent a few years on the Venice Beach Boardwalk with Arhata when his display was a true work of conscious art unrestrained by what our Rolling Stone journalist calls “Sand Box Rules”.
As he was the key inspiration for new Ordinances regarding Municipal codes focused on civil rights, Arhata deserved to be given polite consideration by the City Council at the onset of this ridiculous waste of tax payer money. The fact that he was never asked to be a part of any focus group, discussion or debate regarding his displays is a shocking statement for a community claiming “consciousness”. He was harassed, threatened, robbed, ridiculed, kicked out of his home (which was maintained by a certain property management company directly affiliated with a key Council Member) and his story was carefully manipulated by a biased press. Then he was cited, fined and dragged to court. He’s been bullied.
For the common good, The Sandbox Rules had to happen. There is no question that the constant presence of a disputable Free Speech display in a public section downtown was bound to draw attention. In fact, that was the point. It is unfortunate that the “common good” is determined by a minority with agendas and motives designed to limit the vision of a majority who have not been informed at all. Ah, isn’t that the essence of politics anyway?
Perhaps this is what concerns me the most about this issue. Port Townsend vs. Olson does indeed set a precedent, in our small town and in all small towns across our nation. The public defender cited cases regarding Free Speech from 1930 and in 1940 in the preliminary hearing! Why Judge Landes chose to drag this on is a mystery. Why she asked the Public Defender, “What do you want to do?” at the end of the hearing was mind boggling. Landes could have made a number of decisions that would have been satisfactory for all — now the agony is prolonged. The case will go to trial and based on the information revealed by one lone journalist who is far removed from a bias, it may climb the stairs of the Supreme Court.
Thanks, tax payers, eh? It’s a shame the quiet guy with the signs who started it all wasn’t invited to the party, because he’s got some great ideas and he would have made Port Townsend authentically shine with the progressive medal it claims to possess.
Rev. Sarah Nash LPC
Some other comments via email:
Thanks, my friend!This message is timely. Lately, I have been feeling deeply alone as I let go of my attachments and desires, and my ego’s need to project my discontent out into the world as a way of justifying my darkness. I have recognized how important it is to let go of all the trappings of personality identification and go deeper into the stillness, rather than endlessly chasing after the next thought. I find it takes great courage and trust to realize that ‘I need nothing’ and that nothing I can do ultimately matters except to rest in the equanimity of SELF. After a while, little by little, the monkey mind loosens its grip, and the distractions of the world become less addictive, less important, and more transparent, revealing only ‘smoke and mirrors’. This is a lonely state as I try to find my way in what Krishnamurti called ‘the pathless land’. But I have finally realized there is no other way, and how utterly important it is to free the mind of guilt and fear.Thanks, again!blue skies!~ A.M. October 15, 2014
__________________________________________________I just want you to know that, even though I met you only briefly for a passing moment in time at Venice Beach in the 90’s, you have had a profound effect on my mindset. I hope someday to make it to the Pacific Northwest. You always keep it real and very down to Earth. I admire and respect your intention contained within all of your messages. ~S.P. Sep 26, 2014