To the Editor: Supports Porter’s position

In case you think that only Ron Porter presses this issue without warrant and is alone in this, you are mistaken. I agree with him completely, and find this desire to hold meetings devoid of any flavor other than totally staid, silent members of the public who act like children who are being made to sit and be quiet to be completely against what is reasonably expected. Our expression at meetings is not just allowable when we stand for a few minutes at the podium, which many are afraid to do, as you should well know. And holding up hands in agreement may have some benefit, but still is has a chilling effect when forced on the public in conjunction with not allowing clapping or other reasonable forms of expression.

As it is hard these days to get people to research something they appear not inclined to delve into, I will provide a quote of just one section of the decision in the court case that plainly addresses whether this interrupts public meetings.

“To effectuate Section 403 within constitutional limits we interpret it to require the following showing to establish its transgression: that the defendant substantially impaired the conduct of the meeting by intentionally committing acts in violation of implicit customs or usages or of explicit rules for governance of the meeting, of which he knew, or as a reasonable man should have known.”

This case (1 Cal.3d 930 (1970),464 P.2d 142, 83 Cal. Rptr. 686. In re THOMAS PATRICK KAY et al., on Habeas Corpus. Supreme Court of California. In Bank. Jan. 30, 1970) was about conduct of around at least 25 persons who clapped for five to 10 minutes. Section 402 is of course about interrupting meetings.

Note that the court said that there had to be substantial impairment of the meeting for it to be unlawful. In this case, it went on for five-10 minutes, and was a definite protest.

If that was not unlawful, and in fact was defined by the court as the protestors’ right of free speech, then why in the world is our mayor suppressing less than 30 seconds of clapping?

OK. If we cannot express ourselves at public meeting, then it is the council’s transgression of the law that should addressed here. Our inherent rights used to be jealously guarded in this country, and I wish to heaven that people valued them these days.

I do value this right and plan on standing up and loudly protest any further suppression of it in council meetings. If you want to throw me out after that, then plan on seeing me in court.

Mike Neel

Story First Published: 2018-03-30