Those who do not follow the guidelines will be warned
once, then removed from the hearing if they continue
to break the rules.
"These council chambers are about as open a forum for
democracy, outside of perhaps the Speaker's Corner in
London, where anybody can say anything,” Councilman
Eric Garcetti said.
"You can hear speech, you can hear it repeatedly
without the limitations that most of our peer bodies
have," Garcetti said, referring to the county Board of
Supervisors and the school board, who place
limitations on the number of times a person can
address those panels per meeting.
The new rules come after Michael Hunt, who is black,
repeatedly uttered a racial epithet during a City
Council meeting. Hunt, along with Michael Dowd and a
man who refers to himself as "Zuma Dogg" regularly use
taunts and slurs while opposing a "lottery system"
used by the city to regulate performers and artists on
Venice's Oceanfront Walk.
"We try to work with you guys, but certain words in
the dictionary should be used here, and I think that's
how all this came about," Hunt told the council. "I
don't think if you're not directing the word to any
one individual and just using it in a sentence then
The rules were made to rein in activist associated
with the community garden that was recently bulldozed
at Alameda and 41st streets. They have regularly
attacked City Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district
includes the property formerly known as the South
In response, part of the measure adopted today notes
that remarks must be addressed to the whole council,
and that a council member cannot be singled out.
The council also limited speakers to one minute,
instead of two, during the public comment period at
the end of council meetings. The idea was to allow
more people to address the council during the 10
minutes state law says must be set aside for public
"Although it doesn't go as far as some of us would
like, it goes as far as legally we can move forward,"
Councilman Bernard Parks said. "It gives us clear
guidance as it relates to the prospects of public