Tuesday, November 10, 2015
RECORD PR SPIN I: COSA "Decorum" Rules -- INTOLERANT Commissioners LEANNA A.S. FREEMAN and NANCY-SIKES-KLINE Can't "Tolerate" First Amendment Protected Activity
Reform St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver (center), flanked by intolerant developer-coddling Commissioners NANCY SIKES-KLINE (R-CORNEALVILLE, employee of KAREN TAYLOR LAND PLANNER, who has not disclosed the names of any of her developer clients on 13-page list of KAREN TAYLOR's clients)(left) and LEANNA S. A. FREEMAN (R, LEN WEEKS crony)(right), a once-respected St. Augustine divorce lawyer who "won't tolerate" criticism she calls "personal" in perfidious rants suggesting a lack of emotional stability about First Amendment protected activity about City government misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, waste, fraud, abuse, no-bid contracts, discrimination, flummery, dupery and nincompoopery, just like her ex-partner in FREEMAN & BURK, SUSAN BURK, who attacked public comment speakers as "rude," rolled her eyes and made personal attacks -- FREEMAN said in 2008 that she agreed with Commissioner BURK on "everything").
(Photo by DENNIS HO, FOLIO WEEKLY)
City Commission approves rules of decorum
Special event venues
Posted: November 10, 2015 - 11:12pm | Updated: November 11, 2015 - 12:03am
By SHELDON GARDNER
St. Augustine commissioners gave a nod to rules of decorum for City Hall.
The commission passed a resolution formalizing a series of rules for behavior at its meetings and those of its appointed boards and committees, such as the Planning and Zoning Board.
The resolution prohibits disruptive behavior at meetings. A speaker “must avoid making irrelevant, repetitive, personal, impertinent or slanderous comments,” among other requirements. Someone violating the rules or “otherwise disrupting a meeting” may be gaveled out of order by the chairperson. A person can be removed from a meeting if necessary.
The commission passed the item unanimously, though Mayor Nancy Shaver had reservations.
“I feel that this is making rules for the sake of making rules,” Shaver said. “That what’s described here is really the role of the chairperson in running a meeting of any type in any way. And that disruptive behavior is a part of what this gavel is for.”
Other commissioners disagreed, with Commissioner Leanna Freeman citing personal comments made by speakers.
“I just don’t think that staff or [commissioners] deserve to be personally (sic) attacked,” Freeman said. “ ... I feel that on a regular basis that our staff and we are subjected to stuff that we shouldn’t have to tolerate.”
Commissioner Nancy Sikes–Kline also supported the rules.
“My position is that it’s always more fair (sic) to everyone when the rules are clear (sic) and they’re well-stated (sic) in clear (sic) English,” Sikes-Kline said.
Shaver later voted in favor, adding “in order to respect the fellow folks at the table.”
Special event venues
The city will give existing legal businesses with special event venues 90 days to register their business if an ordinance passes in December.
Officials have been working on a special events venue ordinance for months, and it is expected to be heard for possible adoption in December, said City Attorney Isabelle Lopez.
That ordinance would outline where special event venues — such as a bed and breakfast that hosts a wedding — would be able to locate in zoning codes as well as some guidelines for operation.
A companion ordinance is expected to be heard at the same meeting that would allow existing businesses to continue operating without issue.
The registration process allows someone to easily prove that they were already in existence as a legal business and special events venue before the ordinance.
Once the special events venue ordinance is in place, a business that is out of compliance would be subject to code enforcement action, Lopez said.
People can call the city’s Planning and Building Department at 825-1065 for more information.
In other business
■ Commissioners supported having City Manager John Regan administer $5,000 in “Small Town Experience” grant money as he sees fit. The grant was presented as a possible fund for historical re-enactors to be managed by the St. Johns Cultural Council panel. Commissioners largely voiced support of using the money for re-enactors.
not2extreme 11/11/15 - 06:55 am 41Wanna Bet?
Anyone want to bet who the first (and most frequent) violator of these inane rules will be?
My money is on any current or former commissioner, or someone formerly in a position of power within the city or county. They can't stand to think that mere mortals would dare approach their self-proclaimed Olympian heights and question or accuse them of wrong doing. Maybe if they didn't give the citizenry so much food for thought and display such hubris they wouldn't set themselves up as targets of question or ridicule.
Then there is the unfortunate fact that as elected PUBLIC officials they have knowingly and willingly placed themselves in the public eye and opened themselves up to enhanced scrutiny (see above paragraph regarding hubris and easy fodder).
Nigel 11/11/15 - 07:31 am 71Of Sticks and stones
Well, there's a bag of angry snakes. Hmm,...... "irrelevant, repetitive, personal, impertinent " , that is more than sufficiently subjective enough to violate the 1st amendment a few times.
Warm the lawyers up boys, it's gonna be a long season.
emmylight 11/11/15 - 11:17 am 50Violates First Amendment
This is a blatant effort to stop free speech. We have a right to redress our government guaranteed under the first. Amendment. We have the right to openly criticize our government. That is what the first amendment is all about. This is an outrage. Get rid of this commission. Free speech is the cornerstone of our republic. We the people must sue the city and overturn this affront to freedom.
Today is Veteran's Day; the day we honor the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who sacrificed so much to preserve our freedoms. Protect the first amendment.
Firstcoaster 11/11/15 - 01:49 pm 50They passed a Rule
not a law/ordinance/statute. If they even consider directing an officer to arrest someone for violating a rule, they better get out the city check book. You can't use a rule to define disturbing the peace. A rule isn't a punitive statute.
How petty of the thin-skinned commissioners.
The Bears 11/11/15 - 12:38 pm 30Oh my
“must avoid making irrelevant, repetitive, personal, impertinent or slanderous comments"
Not very First Amendment-like of the city commission. They better wield their new stick very, very softly, because I can already hear the attorneys revving their engines.
Jason Hamilton 11/11/15 - 02:20 pm 40The Princess Rule
“must avoid making irrelevant, repetitive, personal, impertinent or slanderous comments,” ...“otherwise disrupting a meeting”
irrelevant - 1.not connected with or relevant to something.
Understandable, so give the speakers a time limit....oh, you say they do that already?
repetitive- 1.happening again and again : repeated many times
Our brains need repetition to hold on to info. Speakers trying to breach unusually thick craniums certainly need some repetition for conveying their message/point.
impertinent -1.not showing proper respect; rude.
This is a subjective word very open to interpretation. I find this new rule to be impertinent.
Personal and slanderous remarks have no place in these meetings. I also believe people should be treated with common curtsey. The richest part of this is people just like the ones seeking guidelines are the same that can be seen at Publix, the bank, Target, or Carrabbas talking any which way they want to hourly employees. If you are employed by McDonnalds and some guest decides to berate you for not serving breakfast after 10:30 you get to smile and take it until the jerk leaves. I think this princess rule is needless. We have laws already to deal with people who go too far. We all encounter adversity....that's life deal with it!
sponger2 11/11/15 - 03:59 pm 60Time for a career change.
Time for the commissioners to seriously consider a career change. If they can't function as is required by the job (and I do believe they are paid for what they do) because their feelings might be hurt, perhaps they should consider a field that requires less interaction with the public. Perhaps a "Sanitation Engineer"? Early hours, almost no interaction with the customer base, and essentially the same job description. That is, moving crap from one place to another.
Firstcoaster 11/11/15 - 04:56 pm 30This is the 21st Century
Therefore we don't want to "hurt someone's feelings."
Jason Hamilton - princess rule indeed. "...common curtsey." Good one.
Morris1 11/11/15 - 06:36 pm 30I find Commissioner John Doe to be totally incompetent...
... an absolute failure at his job, a disgrace to our town and a potentially dangerous decision-maker. John Doe disgusts me as a human being and I hope we choose to elect someone else next election cycle.
What I just typed there is now forbidden at a St Augustine commission meeting.
The reason speech is the most sacred form of expression is because history has shown us that the only way bulls**t can insulate itself from scrutiny is to demand that speech be silenced. The truth is immensely "insulting" to deluded people. Is this not the same cavalcade of losers who compelled a taxpayer funded attorney, on the clock, to investigate whether or not they could sue a local blogger over speech?