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L.A. City Council limits Free Speech (repost)

by FYI Friday, Aug. 04, 2006 at 3:02 PM

L.A. City Council To Abide By 'Rules Of Decorum' People addressing the Los Angeles City Council will have to speak their mind without using profanity, being too loud or making offensive comments, according to "rules of decorum" approved Tuesday.

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

it's OK."

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

Central Farm.

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

comment.

"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

comment." [snip]

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Limits on free speech John Earl Wednesday, Aug. 09, 2006 at 2:23 PM

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