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ACLU Warns Ohio City Against Chalk Message Ban
DEFIANCE, Ohio (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is warning a northwest Ohio city against cracking down on sidewalk messages written in chalk.
At issue is a law in the city of Defiance prohibiting people from painting or defacing streets or attaching handbills to telephone poles.
The law was used last year to stop members of a local Occupy group from writing political messages on sidewalks the night before the city's annual Halloween parade.
James Hardman, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, told the city in a letter that prohibiting such messages is a content-based restriction of political speech.
City Law Director David Williams tells the Toledo Blade the situation has been overblown and the ban has nothing to do with the messages' content.