In a move bound to anger gadflies across Los Angeles, the L.A. City Council has approved tough gagging rules to keep members of an apparently disorderly public from speaking too much of what's on their minds.
The unanimously approved action came yesterday at an L.A. City Council meeting. Speakers will not be warned of their inappropriate behavior or remarks–whatever “inappropriate” may mean–before they're kicked out of City Council chambers. Once given the heave-ho, a person will also be banned from the chambers for up to 30 council-meeting days.
Sounds like a recipe for self-censorship, thus essentially gagging speakers before they even say anything.
The person who decides what's appropriate or not is the City Council
President, who, right now, happens to be Eric Garcetti, a sometime
foe of gadfly extraordinaire Zuma Dogg, who's already jumping on the issue.
Zuma Dogg, on his blog yesterday, says the new rules may be illegal, but not just according to him. He cites a ruling from the new City Attorney, Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich — a favorite of community activist types like former LA Daily News Editor Ron Kaye. They're the kind of people who like to speak up at City Council meetings, sometimes to the annoyance of the politicians sitting before them.
Zuma Dogg has also complained for months that Garcetti has been regularly violating the Brown Act, the law that protects public comment period during City Council meetings. He cites one example here, with an accompanying video.
[Editor's Note: According to Associated Press,
the L.A. City Council's action was triggered by a
spectator appearing at a meeting dressed in a Ku Klux Klan hood and
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.