The City made a Historic Offer.  The Downtown Merchants Business Network had to Refuse the offer or forsake their First Amendment Rights

A new chapter on Monroe's history was added Monday July 18, 2005 when the leaders of the Downtown Monroe Business Network (DMBN) members refused to sign an agreement containing a clause which would require them to give up certain aspects of their first amendment freedom of speech rights.  For many years, the DMBN had administered a parking ticked validation program with good success.  In order to continue clauses were added to the City Internet  published version of their contract renewal with the city, to wit:


This agreement made this                day of _______, 2005 between the City of Monroe (“CITY”), a Michigan Municipal Corporation, 120 E. First Street, Monroe, Michigan 48161 and the Downtown Monroe Business Network (“DMBN”), a Michigan Not for Profit Corporation, P.O. Box 1068, Monroe, Michigan 48161.

WHEREAS, within the City of Monroe, the CITY has jurisdiction over certain street parking in the downtown business district and has adopted certain parking ordinances governing the use and fees associated with off-street parking; and

WHEREAS, the CITY is committed to a strong and vital downtown; and

WHEREAS, the DMBN has proposed a validation program for on-street parking that would enhance the customer service by the commercial and professional downtown community and is ready, willing and able to undertake and manage the validation program.

            In consideration of the mutual agreements of the parties, it is agreed as follows:

      1.     Description of Program Boundaries:  The street parking (metered and unmetered) within the downtown business district, more specifically identified in Exhibit A which is attached hereto and made a part hereof, shall be designated as the boundaries in which the validation program shall operate and be managed by the DMBN.

     2.      Term:  a.) The term of this validation agreement shall commence on the above referenced date.  b.) The DMBN will operate the Parking Validation Program for a 120 day period or until such time as the DMBN and the City have reached a mutually agreed upon transition plan.  c.) Provided, however, that upon either party giving the other thirty (30) days written notice, this agreement may be terminated prior to the completion of its term.

      3.     Compensation:  DMBN shall receive no compensation for the operation and management of the validation program.


3. Compensation (Consideration): The DMBN shall receive no compensation for the operation and management of the validation program. Further, in consideration for operating the Parking Validation Program the DMBN board of Directors, Officers, and /or Committee members will acknowledge the current organizational structure of the DDA/Monroe Main Street program and board, and refrain from efforts to disband, disrupt, divide, or dissolve this organization.

      4.    Program Specifications:  The DMBN agrees to operate and manage the Validation Program under the following terms and conditions:

             (a)  During the period of this contract, any downtown business owner shall have access to all the rights,         privileges and responsibilities of the parking validation program and shall adhere to all the rules and         guidelines developed by the DMBN for the operation of this program.  Failure to comply with the rules and         guidelines developed by the DMBN may result in exclusion from the validation program.


(b)  DMBN shall appoint a Validation Committee who shall be solely  vested with the responsibility of the validation of parking tickets   under       guidelines adopted by the DMBN.


          (b) DMBN shall appoint a Validation Committee who shall be solely vested with the     responsibilityof the validation of parking tickets under the guidelines adopted by the DMBN. The      DMBN shall furnish to the City the names of DMBN members who serve on the      Validation Committee within fifteen (15) days after the execution of this agreement.

(c)  DMBN shall adopt guidelines for the operation and management of  the Validation Program.  A copy of the duly adopted guidelines shall be attached to this contract and binding as a term of this agreement on the parties. The guidelines shall include provisions for:

(i)     The appointment of the Validation Committee.  It shall be a conflict of interest and removal of an individual from consideration for appointment shall be required if that individual or his/her business is at the time the appointment is to be made indebted to the CITY for parking violation(s).

(ii)       The authority of the Validation Committee.  Validation of any parking ticket shall be specifically limited by the nature of the ticket and the geographic boundaries identified in this Agreement.  Exhibit B which is attached hereto and made a part hereof identifies the categories on a City of Monroe parking ticket that may considered for validation.  No other violation by number or other description may be validated under the authority granted by this Agreement.  Parking violations submitted to the CITY under the validation program which do not conform to the categories identified in Exhibit B will not be honored and remain the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle.

(iii)     The decision making process of the Validation Committee.  Validation of any parking ticket shall only by done by the committee as established in the DMBN guidelines.  No member of the Validation Committee has the authority to act singularly in validating parking violations submitted.

(iv)  The collection process for the validation consideration. The DMBN shall establish in its guidelines a specific manner and timeline for submission to the Validation Committee of parking violations to be considered for validation.  The timeline shall take into consideration and conform to the CITY’S current collection process.  Should the CITY change said collection process during the term of this Agreement, the CITY shall be required to give notice to the DMBN and provide assistance to the DMBN to amend the adopted guidelines for the validation program to ensure continued conformance to this provision of the Agreement.  The DMBN accepts responsibility for the education of any and all members of the DMBN concerning the collection process.  The DMBN shall return to its membership any and all parking violations submitted  for validation that do not meet the guidelines with sufficient explanation as to why the validation has not been honored and such other instruction as may be deemed necessary to educate and inform the membership of the appropriate use of the process in the future.

(v)    The establishment of periodic Validation Committee review of the collection process.  The Validation Committee shall review quarterly, or sooner if appropriate or necessary, the collection process in use by its membership and identify and take corrective action modification to the process to conform to the guidelines when and where appropriate.  The Validation Committee shall meet with the CITY on a date and time to be mutually agreed upon during the term of this Agreement to evaluate the collection process, DMBN guidelines and the Agreement.  Said evaluation shall be used in discussion and/or recommendation for renewal of this Agreement.

(vi)    The establishment of disciplinary procedures for violation of this Agreement.  The DMBN shall provide for discipline of its membership or Committee as a whole should it be found to be in violation of the terms of the DMBN Validation Guidelines or this Agreement.  The DMBN shall further provide for investigation of the complaints concerning its membership or committee as a whole concerning the collection of, and/or the validation of parking violations.

(vii)     The designation of the Chairperson of the Validation Committee.  The Chairperson of the Validation Committee is authorized to mediate problems or conflicts that may arise concerning the Validation Agreement, its terms and conditions.

      5.   Support and Assistance by the CITY: The CITY may consider provisions of additional support services and material to the DMBN for the operations and management of the Validation Program.  The cost of printing or supplies for the operation of the program shall be the responsibility of the DMBN.

      6.   Notice: All notices required to be given to the CITY under this Agreement  shall be given personally or sent be certified mail to the CITY at the address referenced above.  All notices required to be given to the DMBN shall be given personally to the Chairperson of the DMBN or sent by certified mail to the DMBN at the address referenced above.  The DMBN may, if necessary or appropriate, change the address for notice under this Agreement with thirty (30) days notice to the CITY of the change.

      7.    Assignment:  This Agreement shall not be assigned or any transfer of rights under the Agreement made, in whole or in part, by either party.

     8.    Agreement:  This Agreement shall be deemed to have been made in and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Michigan.

In witness, the parties have signed this Agreement as of the first date written above.



                                                            Michelle Cloutier, Chairperson DMBN


Edward Paisley, Validation Committee Chairperson

                                                CITY OF MONROE


                                                            Debbie L. Manns, City Manager


                                                            Charles Evans, City Clerk/Treasurer

The DMBN refused to sign the agreement citing an infringement of their rights of freedom of speech (First Amendment) as not being a reasonable or legal sacrifice for the work of continuing to validate shoppers tickets for parking more than one hour while engaged in shopping downtown.   Lets take a look at how and why we got our bill of rights, the first ten of  the amendments.  THE SEDITION ACT OF JULY 14, 1798 is one factor worthy of study.


An Act in addition to the act, entitled "An act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States."

SEC. I  Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty; and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot. unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and on conviction, before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term not less than six months nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court may be holden to find sureties for his good behaviour in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or publishing, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, and declared, That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act, for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause, shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue and be in force until the third day of March, one thousand eight hundred and one, and no longer: Provided. That the expiration of the act shall not prevent or defeat a prosecution and punishment of any offence against the law, during the time it shall be in force.

JONATHAN DAYTON, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

THEODORE SEDGWICK, President of the Senate, pro tempore.

APPROVED, July 14, 1798:

JOHN ADAMS, President of the United States.

Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

This page is intended to serve as a resource for students and researchers of the history of the City of Monroe.

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