Councilor De Peña’s Constitutional Appeal to Local Radio
Lawrence is a small city with big talent, big minds, and big projects waiting to be unraveled before the eyes of its residents.
Yet, as the city continues to develop and advance in many ways, voices that advocate or oppose the current affairs of the community have been shut down from expressing their personal political preferences — all in the name of maintaining the bottom line of the inner powerful circle of local radio.
“We have radio broadcasters who pay for their time on the air. That time paid gives them an opportunity to express whatever they want with the welcoming of agreement and disagreement. It’s one of the many great things in this nation’s Constitution: the freedom to express oneself through the press should not be interfered with,” said Brian De Peña, current City Councilor at-Large and owner of Tenares’ Wheels & Tires, a 24-hour tire shop on Broadway in Lawrence.
Mr. De Peña, like many small businessmen and businesswomen in the city, is concerned by the particular censorship of local broadcasters appealing to political candidates of their choice during the November 2017 mayoral elections.
Dating back to November 6 and 7, the day before and Election Day, respectively, station WCEC 1490 AM intentionally violated the constitutional rights of the radio broadcasters supporting their political candidate of choice, which was an obvious contradiction of the preferences of Mr. Pat Costa, owner of the station.
“We as a small business community have come to the consensus in looking to boycott radio station 1490 for violating the rights of the radio hosts who have paid for their time and have a right to be heard, and for the right of its residents to stay informed and engage in civic and public debate. This community of minorities is a local majority, and we have a right to express ourselves without censoring us being a possibility,” said Councilor De Peña.
“This is discriminatory behavior coming from Mr. Costa. I have the utmost respect for everybody, including Mr. Costa, but I do not agree with his actions, and neither does the small business community of this great city.”
In looking forward as a city we forget the small infractions committed by the well-to-do, which, in the long run, hurt us and continues to divide us. Be it consciously or subconsciously, the city has regressed due to its own divisive politics.
In the midst of the debate comes a calm after all is (literally) said and done. We cannot allow repressing the voices that engage the community in the name of political and personal gain.
Councilor De Peña has championed the wellbeing of the community with love and service to those who come his way. Now, in a time of regained momentum, the new reelected councilor is ready to stand for the community in the name of free information, even when the microphone in front of him and those behind the movement remained unplugged.