The chickens have come home to roost. In March 2016, I wrote an article about the City of Irvine’s ill-advised actions that prevented the free distribution of Irvine Community News & Views in City Hall, while at the same time City Hall allowed the free distribution of other local publications such as OC Weekly and the Irvine World News.
Apparently, the City considered this paper to be too “political.” My 2016 article included the following sentences: “It appears that the City Council is daring the newspaper to sue the City in Federal Court to have the restriction on distribution declared unconstitutional. This will result in a waste of your tax dollars and mine when the City is virtually certain to lose that lawsuit.”
Instead of allowing the distribution of this newspaper, the City prohibited the distribution of all newspapers in City Hall. As you might expect, this newspaper picked up the gauntlet that was thrown down and sued the City to vindicate its right to be free from content-based discrimination. The City of Irvine (with the fig leaf that it was not making an “admission of fault”) has recently agreed to pay $350,000 to settle the lawsuit filed by the ICNV and its Publisher and Editor, Franklin J. Lunding. The City’s own attorneys’ fees and staff time probably added hundreds of thousands of dollars in Irvine taxpayer costs. Going forward, here’s hoping that the City Council acts in a more judicious manner.