Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Anonymity And Intimidation

Mendocino County seems to have their own version of a Marina Center controversy going on, according to the Ukiah Daily Journal's blog (Sept. 12 post). The old Masonite Mill(?) site has long been unused and some are proposing a new mall be put there.

Editor, K.C. Meadows, makes mention of the fact that some people seem to feel intimidated by one of the sides in the controversy. The "Smart Growth" bunch apparently went through a list the Board of Supervisors had available and took names of people for or against development. Some people are nervous about that.

Meadows then goes on to seemingly defend anonymous comments at public meetings. Well, maybe not totally anonymous since a speaker would at least be seen when speaking, but reminds us it's supposedly illegal to require people to identify themselves before addressing a city council or supervising board.

People should just be able to go up and speak without identifying themselves? That's the law? I'll have to think about that one.

19 Comments:

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I see the paralell to our own local controversy.

At the ECC LNG hearing several years ago, speakers had to sign a card with your name and address. I can't remember if we had to indicate which side we were on our not. I think we did. I was number 52, but didn't stay long enough at the hearing, because I had my kids with me and it was going to be a long wait until I would have a chance to speak.

 
At 11:08 AM, Anonymous heraldo said...

it's supposedly illegal to require people to identify themselves before addressing a city council or supervising board.

I'd like confirmation on that. You have to sign up to speak at the Board of Supes, and the Mayor will interrupt you if you don't identify yourself before speaking.

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger mresquan said...

"it's supposedly illegal to require people to identify themselves before addressing a city council or supervising board."

I find it as more of a courtesy to the reporters.But the legality of it is a different issue,one shouldn't be forced to do so if they don't want to.

 
At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Identifying oneself before speaking doesn't seem too much to ask.

However, being required to publicly announce one's street address is an invitation to be harmed by any loose nut who disagrees with what you say in a public meeting.

Another major concern of mine -> Requiring people to state their position on an issue before being allowed to speak.

This is what was done at the last major public hearing concerning proposed Freeway construction. The powers that were running the meeting had decided in advance which of the four main proposed routes they favored. They controlled the discussion in order to favor their position (favoring the route that would put thousands of Eurekans out of their homes and cut the town physically in two) by requiring speakers to state on an index card their names, addresses, phone numbers and at least one other piece of information: which of the proposed Highway routes they intended to favor in their remarks.

The master manipulators of the so-called public meeting then permitted their own favored speakers to speak first. By the time they had finished speaking on behalf of the route favored by the business interests in Eureka, it was 11:00 p.m. The news media had gone away. No TV, no newspaper reporters. The people who favored routes that would have spared Eureka from tremendous dislocation and disfigurement were left talking to one another, with the great powers sitting up on the stage pretending to care what they said, but knowing they had gotten what they wanted: The appearance of democratic action to cover the reality of oligarchic control of local decision-making.

Only because Jerry Brown's Transportation Secretary, (Adriana Gianturco was her name, I believe) froze all highway construction funds later was Eureka spared the mass destruction of its existing housing stock and the dislocation of thousands of its people.

As to the main issue relevant today, I urge anyone reading these words to be wary of any attempt by a public body to require members of the public to identify their position on an issue before being permitted to speak at a public meeting. It can be used, as it was thirty-some years ago, to subvert, not uphold, the will of the people.

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger Rose said...

If you don't have the courage to speak your name, I do feel sorry for you. the idea of a government for and by the people requires that you have at least that much courage.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger mresquan said...

Well if you speak during public comment in regards to an issue very important to you,that you want taken care of ASAP, you're going to want the council or board members to know who you are so they can look into working with you on your concern,as soon as they can.But I still don't think it should be required,and don't expect to taken as seriously as others who identify themselves,like it or not.

 
At 5:34 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Agree with both Rose and Esquan.

 
At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob Arkley might be better off if he had practiced some anonymity with his intimidation.

 
At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have a problem with it Fred, require logins for your blog comments. Don't be duplicitous.

 
At 7:12 PM, Blogger robash141 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7:29 PM, Blogger robash141 said...

Amazing as it seems I agree with both Rose and Fred. I think people who choose to address a public meeting should identify themselves.

I don't think people should be compelled to give their full legal name However, they should identify themselves in some way even if its just calling themselves Butterfly/Moonbisket or John Wayne Jr. or whatever

 
At 9:51 PM, Blogger Hank Sims said...

That's right -- by law, a city council or board of supervisors can't force you to give your name when addressing an issue at a meeting.

I can't give you a citation right now, but I know for a fact that's the law.

 
At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must not be very skilled readers here.

My post did not advocate anonymously speaking at public meetings. Where did you people get that idea?

I objected to having to reveal your home address to the public when doing so might endanger your family. You disagree with that?

Mostly, I disagreed with allowing community "leaders" to manipulate public discussion to favor one side of the debate over other sides.

Re-read my post and this time, open your eyes.

 
At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rose said...
If you don't have the courage to speak your name, I do feel sorry for you. the idea of a government for and by the people requires that you have at least that much courage.
3:54 PM

Well, Rose, if you think you understood what I wrote, I feel sorry for you. Do you have the courage to re-read my post and admit that you wrote your reply half-cocked, not understanding the message you were responding to? Do you have the courage to admit that your reading skills are sub-par?

 
At 8:55 AM, Anonymous heraldo said...

Anonymous seems to be taking this discussion personally.

 
At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well anyone who vainly attempts to have Rose acknowledge facts in a discussion is certain to become exasperated and get personal.

Thankfully, no blogger can using shoving as a means of making an argument without facts.

 
At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Hank is correct then we should find this citation because at Eureka City Meetings the mayor insists on your name AND often your city. For that matter half the time she calls you by name as you walk up there so it is hard to be anonymous.

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger robash141 said...

There some legitimate reasons why someone might not want to identify themselves, Say if they were the victim of a crime or something like that.Or if you did business with Arkley but still thought his project sucked and wanted to say so to the city council

There should just be a sign up right before the meeting first come first serve People would be required write something but it wouldn't have to be their legal name so they could call themselves R. Trent or R2D2 or whatever

 
At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robash, are you implying that if someone simply doesn't support one of his projects, Arkley would stop doing business with them?

That would be mean spirited and petty. Certainly not the personality traits of a competant, philanthropic business executive and admirable civic leader. More like the characteristics of a overbearing vindictive tyrant.

Are you really referring to that local well regarded man whose feet(and ass) are kissed by many stalwart conservatives?

 

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