Tamarac 'can't take a joke,' threatens publisher

Tamarac Talk's Sharon Aaron Baron claims city is attacking freedom of speech

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter

TAMARAC, Fla. - Sharon Aaron Baron said she writes a lot of serious articles about Tamarac, but occasionally she delves into humor. She runs the hyperlocal news site Tamarac Talk

After she published a graphic that satirized the special perks that Mayor Harry Dressler receives, the city used taxpayer's resources to threaten her.

"You get preferential parking at every event. You get a special VIP tent at every event with food and drinks," she said. "I was comparing him to a king."

But the city apparently didn't find it funny. They sent Baron a cease and desist letter threatening to sue her for using the city's logo without permission. But Baron isn't taking it down and she has hired a lawyer to fight the city.

"This is clearly a first amendment usage. It’s freedom of speech," Baron said. "Right now my daughter is studying Civics. I’m going to tell her that I took something down when I know I’m right? Not on your life." 

Dressler didn't want to comment on the matter, but Diane Phillips, Tamarac's assistant city manager, said the case is not a first amendment issue. 

"It’s solely about protecting the brand and its logo," Phillips said. 

American Civil Liberties Union Attorney Barry Butin disagrees. He said Baron should win the legal dispute, because the graphic is such an obvious joke.

Copyright 2017 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.