Who’s behind the recent proposal to restrict speech at city council meetings? Yes, that’s right, 2nd Ward Republican Mike Reid, the lead opponent to approving accessory apartments in the city. However, the proposal seems to have broad support on the city council, and I suspect it is simply a move to censor Blaine Coleman, who frequently addresses the council. As another example, if the rule had already been in place, members of the city’s Muslim community would not be allowed to come and ask for a crosswalk on Plymouth (something the city has been ignoring for years) unless the proposal was on the agenda. Clearly, restricting speech to “what’s on the agenda” is uncalled for censorship: while Blaine and others may be annoying, there might be a time when the council is ignoring or ignorant of something important.
“Less talk. More speakers.
That’s what City Council Member Mike Reid would like to see at the bimonthly Ann Arbor City Council meetings. The 2nd Ward Republican is sponsoring a resolution that would shorten the amount of time for public comment, add one more speaking slot to the reserved time and limit the topic to what is on that week’s agenda.”
> From AANews: “Comment rules may tighten“
Also, this is part of what the Washtenaw County ACLU had to say in a recent member alert: “Citizen input is valuable and should be maintained. Many agenda items do not make it to the Council table until members of the public bring an issue to the attention of Council through public commentary. It took years of city residents speaking about homelessness during public commentary before the issue of affordable housing made its way to a City Council agenda. Affordable housing is now recognized by the City as a top-priority concern affecting the quality of life of all Ann Arbor residents.”