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Here’s The Scoop #2…Commission Round Table ….2/3/09…Freedom Of Speech…

WHEN LISTENING TO THE “2 HATS” TALK …”FREEDOM OF SPEECH”….

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Nothing can describe better the absolute  “talking out of both sides of their mouths”..that the Vice Mayor and his BFF Comm. Silverstone displayed when once again talking about freedom of speech…( previous post…scoops LBTS agenda/meetings categories…..1/28/09 Comm. comments…Silverstone)….whether discussing it at the podium or in the press/blogging online…

In their  own words…from the round table…

The Mayor spoke about doing some research online about freedom of speech…that we cannot restrain the public …no matter if they are angry, critical or adverse…that there are documented court cases….

Comm. Silverstone-” As I said at my last Commissioner comments (see previous post) a democracy does not work without freedom of speech pure and simple. It’s a two way road. The purpose of having these meetings is primarily to conduct the Town’s business. The freedom of speech could be exercised anytime at all. If somebody has a complaint about something they could always call me or e-mail me. A good example of that was the tennis courts vote issue, freedom of speech was taken and I made, I responded to everything I got and AH it worked out really well. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

BC- HUH?…responding to a petition…or a coordinated effort to maintain 2 tennis courts as a “private club”…is freedom of speech and “That’s how it’s supposed to work.”…there is nothing to say to this type of assertion…except HUH?…

CS- “Now if somebody’s gonna abuse the freedom of speech then go out there and attack somebody because you have personal issues that’s not UM going forward with what we’re suppose to be doing here as far as running the town or running the business of the Town, and it’s a two way street like I said if somebody’s gonna attack me then I have freedom of speech to respond to that , could go back and forth forever. And I think that gets out of place. So we do have to have some guidelines to to to keep to to to keep that so we can get the Town business done. And I think that’s important to do that. But, freedom of speech there’s no question about it.”

Comm. Clottey spoke to say that people have the right to say what they want….going on to add that the Vice Mayor should have allowed Louis Marchellos and Bob Fleishman speak at a recent meeting where he shut them down…at public comments…

Vice Mayor-” I think you have the right to respond to that right after they’re done. That’s where you have to draw the line. If somebody’s gonna attack then I think whoever’s attacked has the right to respond.”

BC-pay attention to this next statement…because this writer was denied at a meeting last month along with others…HMMM…..

VM-” We attack somebody in the audience they should have the right to come up and talk. Same difference.”

The Mayor did not agree…

VM-” Where is my freedom of speech, rights or hers or yours if somebody is gonna attack them the Commissioner they’re attacking should have the right to respond right after the three minutes and say okay he made an attack and here’s my response. If we attack somebody in the audience that person should have the right to come up and say that’s a bad attack you shouldn’t be doing that. I have no problem with that, that’s fair.”

Comm. Dodd said the person in the audience should be able to respond immediately without delay…

VM-” After that Commissioner is done with his comment and I think the same right should be with our Commissioners if somebody comes up to public comments and talks to you and says you’re a “slimy limey” (interesting choice to use for an example…aimed at Dodd)…okay, you should have the right to get up and say, but, personal attacks can take a lot of different languages and if the Commissioner feels he’s being personally attacked he has the right to defend himself that’s just the same thing as the citizens.”

The Mayor disagreed along with Comm. Clottey and Dodd…

VM-” How do you make that decision? But if the Commissioner feels he’s been personally attacked he should have the right to respond. You’ve got to stop personal attacks at the podium or expect a response.”

The Mayor brought up the previous Commission and what they endured in attacks…remaining quiet…

VM-” They responded….Yanni responded a few times.”

The Mayor , Comm. Dodd and Clottey disagreed…adding  responses came at Commissioner comments…

BC- Being the recipient of some of the Yanni responses, it was at Comm. comments…and it was the then-Comm. McIntee that tried to tell him he should not be doing that…along with the numerous times he sought to silence remarks form the former Mayor…pesky history…..and videos…OOPS!…

VM- ” I think the Commissioner who is being attacked should have the right if he feels it’s an , over the line attack to respond. I just think it’s the same thing as a citizen or you’re denying him his rights.”

The Mayor again spoke of freedom of speech…

VM- ” On both sides.”(and the responding to Comm. Clottey on using Commissioner comments to respond)……”But that’s not immediate, not immediate.”

Comm. Clottey wanted to know”what is a public attack …because you mention somebody by name or may reference an incident and everybody knows who’s involved, we need clarification”

The Mayor said she couldn’t make that decision, it was subjective…

VM-” Let’s take Fleishman’s example, Fleishman went from McIntee to McIntee’sa bully, that’s a personal attack.”

Comm. Clottey felt he had a right to say that…

VM- ” I think I have a right to respond. He has the right to say it but I have should have the right to respond.”

The Mayor spoke of the courts and getting the Town Attorney’s opinion…

Comm. Clottey -” If Mr Fleishman has said you’re a thief and you’re a jailbird that’s one thing because that can be some type of fact, but if you say somebody’s a bully or ignorant that’s his opinion and he has the right to express his opinion.”

CS- ” Still dealing with the Town’s business though.”

VM-” Town meetings are Town business. Where does that fall under the Town business?”

Comm. Dodd spoke of being respectful…able to disagree and the right to express that…

VM-” Didn’t give them the right for personal attacks , that’s pretty clear, we decided from day one no personal attacks, no need for personal attacks.”

CS-” Put it on the agenda , take a vote, then move forward. I’ll go whatever way the vote goes.”

VM-” Personal attacks are not, there’s no place in Town business for it in the Town meetings. Do we agree on that?”

CS-” Theoretically, I do.”

The Mayor again spoke of interpretation of what constitutes a personal attack…

VM-” That’s what we have to make a decision on this, we call for a point of order.”

The Mayor and others agreed that a vote would be taken to decide.

VM-” That’s fine, that’s fair.”

Comm. Dodd said to ask the Town Attorney, Comm. Clottey and the Mayor agreed….

VM-” I don’t think we should put him on the spot.”

BC- WHAT?…don’t put the Town Attorney on the spot?…Come on…that’s what he’s there for…of course the VM could be thinking if it’s left to a vote of the dais…his chances are better to be able to respond!….

VM- seeing that it was indeed going to the attorney…” Maybe we should direct the Town Attorney to give a presentation before public comments, this is considered a personal attack, act accordingly.”

BC- 2 things…see if VM called the Town Attorney on this before Mr Abbott speaks on the dais…and make sure Mr Abbott informs the dais the same rules apply to them!…

Freedom of Information was discussed later in the meeting after Comm. Clottey spoke of public records…what the speaker from the Friday Jan. 30th FLOCities seminar on conflict informed her and Peanuts Wick about contractors to the town and what constitutes public/private information…

BC- Boy… the VM ears perked up on this one….thinking her words gave the VFD a”pass” in public records request”…that is until she and the others decided to give this to the Town Attorney to give an opinion on…

Commissioner Silverstone….in all his glory …said the following…Chavez would be proud….

” Let’s talk about the real issue here,  the real issues not the transfer of information. It goes back to freedom of information, transparency, it’s what is done with that information after the person gets it AH unfortunately some people have gotten information and they spin it a different way for, I believe the Volunteer Fire Department works specifically with the Town so everything should be open. I don’t have problems with that at all, but I do have a problem when the information put out to the public and that’s a dangerous thing because once the public reads something they’re gonna remember the last thing they read. They haven’t heard the other side of the story. Whatever they’re gonna be left with a certain impression. I think you said it best it’s a reflected up there and that’s unfortunate. But we have a case in Town where somebody’s using a private blog as a public blog and then you can always change what you consider freedom of the press and freedom of speech but then when your caught up in it you say it’s just my opinion, but you’re putting it out there like a fact and then when you’re using data from that you got from the Volunteer Fire Department , whatever entity you use and you use that maliciously that’s a problem and I think that’s wrong. But again, with freedom of speech you can’t really control that and that’s unfortunate because it’s public, it becomes public knowledge and public information and that’s where it gets dangerous and that’s all I have.”

BC- Where to begin.. Comm.Silverstone  is for freedom of speech…but finds it unfortunate..and dangerous when it becomes public knowledge?…He speaks of a private blog that becomes public…HUH?…This writer on this blog gives the source of all that is not opinion…and the readers may link to, request a copy from this writer…or put in their own request to the VFD/other entity themselves to verify…

Controlling freedom of speech…so that it is not dangerous…Commissioner…is like HMMM..a dictatorship!…

Perhaps what is  really unfortunate…really dangerous…and really gets  to you and your BFF the VM …is the information really is out there …and you might be really be held accountable…RIGHT?…

It get’s uncomfortable being under the spot light after flying under the radar for so long…we all get that!…But, get used to it, it’s not going away….

Comm. Clottey had the last word…on this…”There is more than one blog out there, there are three that I know of. So when somebody says it’s on the blog which of the three are you talking about. There’s probably a lot more.”

BC- Right on Comm. Clottey …for the “2-Hats” are fully involved and participating “anonymously” in the other two!…

ONLINE…..FREEDOM OF SPEECH…..

‘Unfortunately, many situations arise in which citizens are silenced because of the content of their speech or because they have disagreed previously with a government official. This raises the specter of censorship. Government officials may not silence speech because it criticizes them. They may not open a “public comment” period up to other topics and then carefully pick and choose which topics they want to hear. They may not even silence someone because they consider him a gadfly or a troublemaker.’

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‘Courts have also been wary of laws, rules or regulations that prohibit criticism or personal attacks against government officials.

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‘Conclusion
When a government decides to offer a “public comment” period at an open meeting, it provides that citizens may exercise their First Amendment rights. Government officials can limit comments to the relevant subject matter, control disruptive or overly repetitive speakers and impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speech. However, when government officials create a public-comment forum, they have created a limited public forum in which greater free-speech protections apply. The government may not silence speakers on the basis of their viewpoint or the content of their speech. The government must treat similarly situated speakers similarly. In essence, the government must live up to the values embodied in the First Amendment.’

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/speech/personal/topic.aspx?topic=speaking_meetings

BC-Forget a recall…we need a coup!…(definition…A quick, brilliant, and highly successful act; a triumph; A coup d’état; By extension, a takeover of one group by another)tongue in cheek readers…think of candidates…for 2010…

more to come….

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