I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Committee on Chicano Rights picks fight with ACLU over Val Kilmer
Pecos, N.M. resident Val Kilmer is expected to appear in front of the San Miguel County Commission next week, where commissioners are likely to ask Kilmer to explain some comments he’s made about the rural area where he has a large ranch—before making a final decision on the actor’s request to rent out guest houses on his property.
The ACLU has offered to represent Kilmer and his First Amendment rights, but that offer now has a critic in the form of the Committee on Chicano Rights. President Herman Baca last week sent a letter to ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson criticizing the offer:
“It appears to many, and to the CCR that the NM ACLU has lost its way by violating its own founding principles to protect free speech, equal rights, and civil liberties by shamefully soliciting to represent Kilmer on contrived bogus charges of his1st Amendment rights being violated,” the letter states.
Here’s the full text:
June 10, 2010
Peter Simpson, Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union
P.O. Box 566
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103
Re: Val Kilmer
As a native born New Mexican, this correspondence is to state my personal and our organization’s position concerning New Mexico’s (NM) American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) position in soliciting to represent actor (“Joker” he ain’t no Batman) Val Kilmer before San Miguel County Commissioners. The ACLU’s actions were supposedly taken on the grounds that San Miguel County Commissioners violated Kilmer’s, “first amendment rights.” San Miguel residents forced Commissioners to order Kilmer to appear before the commission to explain his incendiary statements to them before voting if a moneymaking permit involving his $33 million 6,000-acre ranch should be issued.
For the record, note our organization’s following positions:
- Express our unequivocal support to Mr. Abran “Abe” Tapia, San Miguel County and NM residents who are seeking and demanding an apology for the insulting, incendiary, racist and degrading statements against persons of Hispano/Mexican ancestry, and Vietnam veterans by “Joker” Kilmer.
- Support the justifiable demands of Mr. Abran “Abe” Tapia, San Miguel, and NM residents to stop “Joker” Kilmer from being granted the zoning changes by San Miguel Commissioners and,
- Adamantly oppose and condemn yours and the NM ACLU’s ludicrous and unbelievable position of soliciting (ambulance chasing) to represent “Joker” Kilmer’s before San Miguel Commissioners.
The ACLU’s position on soliciting to represent “Joker” Kilmer appears to have little to do with “first amendment rights” violations, but appears to be a cheap publicity tactic to politically pressure San Miguel County Commissioners to approve passage of Kilmer’s moneymaking zoning scheme.
What is incredulous to us is that the you and the NM ACLU (Johnny come lately’s) under questionable and bogus legal grounds have chosen to side against persons of Hispano/Mexican ancestry whose ancestors have resided in NM for hundreds (Spanish side) and thousands of years on our Native American side.
Even more incredulous is the ACLU’s position was taken after Kilmer was quoted as stating the below about NM residents, and with full knowledge that Rolling Stone and Esquire magazines stand by their articles:
- “San Miguel County is the homicide capital of the Southwest, and carries a gun in his car,”
- “80% of the people in my county are drunks, so driving home on the highway, especially with kids it’s (having a gun) just a precaution.”
- “We shoot the automatic weapons at the trespassers and people a different color than us” and,
- Vietnam veterans – “He’s some punk, most guys were borderline criminals or poor, and that’s why they got sent to Vietnam. It was all the poor, wretched kids who got beat up by their dads, guys who didn’t get on the football team, couldn’t finagle a scholarship. They didn’t have the emotional equipment to handle the experience.”
It is the opinion of the CCR, a rights organization for over 40 years that your position of; “a clear and obvious violation” of Kilmer’s first amendment rights is absurd, especially after reading that,
- He has yelled fire (which is illegal) in the proverbial crowed theater by stating “we shoot the automatic weapons at the trespassers people of a different color then us.”
Your position on this matter would be parallel to the ACLU defending KKK hoods or hangman’s nooses in an Afro-American schools as a 1st Amendment free speech rights violations.
We find it strange that if Kilmer, (who has long contended since 2003) was misquoted, why he hasn’t (with all his millions) sued both Rolling Stone’s and Esquire magazines for slander and libel? Could it be that he and his attorneys know full well that one cannot sue if the statements are TRUE?
In our opinion, if the NM ACLU goes into a court of law, it will have a hell of a time (based on the above published statements) to legally or morally justify first amendment rights violations.
We question if the NM ACLU is so concerned about Kilmer’s (a millionaire) rights, where was the organization in the recent torturing and branding (with a hot iron) of a Nazi swastika into the skull of a Native American by white supremacists in Farmington, NM? Or the constitutional violation of Mr. Abran Tapia’s freedom of speech rights after he was charged $75 to address and seek redress on the Kilmer issue by the San Miguel Planning Commission?
It appears to many, and to the CCR that the NM ACLU has lost its way by violating its own founding principles to protect free speech, equal rights, and civil liberties by shamefully soliciting to represent Kilmer on contrived bogus charges of his1st Amendment rights being violated.
In closing, rest assured that the CCR will continue to expose your ludicrous position, assist Sr. Tapia, San Miguel and NM residents in their just struggle to seek an apology from “Joker” Kilmer, and politically urge San Miguel Commissioners to deny Kilmer his money making permit!
Herman Baca, President
CC. Abe Tapia, National ACLU, Organizations, News Media, Gov. Bill Richardson, San Miguel Commissioners.