Ban political speech?

But once a speaker launches a personal attack at a member of council, there should be some way to limit that. Every council meeting should not be a political forum.

The quote above comes from comments made by Mayor Paul Fraim earlier this week after council a frequent council critic attacked one of the members of council.

I don’t know that is is possible to ban political speech – after all, didn’t we just go down the path of allowing corporations to participate?

In any event,  I have to agree with Kent Willis here:

“The council does have the right to maintain a certain decorum,” he said. “If they don’t already, they can ban personal attacks on council members and others.”

That, it seems, would solve the issue. And while they are at it, how about televising the “open mic” portion of the meetings? Seems to me it would be helpful for the public to see what’s on the minds of our fellow citizens.

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7 thoughts on “Ban political speech?

  1. One person’s complaint could be another person’s “attack”. When I speak in front of the Supervisors or the School Board, I am sure they don’t like much of what I have to say.

    However, the public body schedules time for the public to speak, and the content of that speech shouldn’t be restricted unless it is rude, and/or truly is a personal attack having nothing to do with the subjects at hand.

    I am positive that when someone hears criticism, it could be viewed as an attack in some way. However, it comes with the territory. If a citizen feels strongly enough to speak out in public at a meeting, they should be heard.

    The situation you describe here sounds like whining, like someone has no interest in hearing what someone else thinks they have done wrong, or, in most cases, not done at all.

    If Dow Chemical can be a person, and we don’t ban their “speech” in the form of money, then citizens should be allowed to speak. As an aside, money is not speech anyway.

    I hope what I said here makes sense. I haven’t been awake that long.

  2. This Danny Lee Ginn doesn’t seem to have a lick of common sense:

    1. In repeatedly attacking the same person over and over, he has zero credibility in speaking to Council on any legitimate concerns on the City Manager’s job performance. They’ll blow it off as “It’s just him again….”

    2. By his “logic” on Daun Hester, anyone who opposed Norfolk moving to a ward system about a generation ago would be ineligible to run for a ward seat. (Not such a bad idea, but….)

    That said, Council is making a mountain out of a molehill here. With the session not televised, the only people hearing it are those in the Chamber. Is saving them from listening to it worth the nasty backlash that would come? (I don’t think so.)

  3. It is a political meeting and every politician knows that they will be attacked no matter what they do. So you give the speakers their three minutes, do not respond to the comments as it extends the attackers time to speak and quickly move on to the next speaker. Easy enough even a caveman can do it.

    To ban anyone from speaking is un-American and dumb…

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