No One Banned from City Council Meetings
May 16, 2014
Given the events at the May 5th City Council Meeting, I called a special meeting of the City Council so that we might finish the business that was left on the table earlier in the week. I called a special meeting of the Council on May 8th and implemented strict interim rules of decorum aimed at helping to ensure the orderly gathering of public comments.
Per the City Council Rules, general public comments are not permitted at special meetings such as the one on May 8th. I did, however, allow comments on bills only if they were germane to the specific agenda items being considered because I felt it was important to hear from people on these matters. I clearly explained the rules of decorum and asked speakers to abide by these rules. If they refused I asked that they leave the chambers. If they continued to refuse I asked that they be escorted out by security so as to maintain order, but with the expectation that they would be permitted to return to City Hall at any point in the future.
However, I was informed that several individuals who were escorted out of the City Council Meeting on May 8th were issued Criminal Trespass Notices that inadvertently informed the recipients they are not allowed in City Hall for 90 days. I have spoken about this matter with the City Administration and the City Attorney’s Office and let me be clear – no one who received a Criminal Trespass Notice from the City is barred from visiting City Hall or from participating in City Council meetings or any other future public meetings.
The City Council will continue to make every effort to ensure that everyone who wishes to speak at a City Council meeting has an opportunity to be heard – even those who were asked to leave on May 8th – but we will continue to implement rules of decorum that recognize the Council’s need to conduct business in an orderly way. At future council meetings I fully intend to continue to allow general public comment on any subject. If under general public comment, individuals wish to stand in silence for two minutes they will be permitted – which is consistent with our past practices under general comments – but for comments on agenda items I will continue to ask that speakers keep their comments germane to the specific business at hand.
City Council President
Please see the official letter.