Council’s new “digital” speakers rules won’t hold up in court


The new rules.

Unfortunately for Burbank, not only have the courts repeatedly stated that public speakers can’t be required to personally identify themselves in order to go in front of a governing board, but this pre-show vetting ability that they’re now granting to selected staff members is a clear and admitted effort at prior restraint.



a. The Form is available online (link to Form) or in the City Manager’s Office.

b. The completed Form must be provided to City Manager’s Office staff with the digital media content on a flash drive.

c. The Form must include:

i. Speaker Name: Name of speaker who will be requesting the digital media during public comment. If digital media is a video, the speaker must appear in the video as the one speaking in the video or otherwise communicating their views in the video.

1. Note: The speaker must be present at the meeting when requesting their own digital media. However additional participants in the digital media may not be in attendance.

ii. Meeting Date: City Council meeting date when digital media will be shown.

iii. Type of Media: Indicate if digital media is a video, PowerPoint, or images.

iv. Participants: If the content is a video, list each person who is directly participating in the video; such as narrator, person conducting the interview, or person being interviewed; as well any person appearing in the video, who communicates their views, such as through signs or placards.

v. Created by: Name of creator of the digital media.

vi. Run Time: If content is a video, provide the run time of the video. The run time for video cannot be longer than three (3) minutes. Note: The three-minute time limit does not apply if you are an applicant or appellant showing digital media during your public hearing item.

vii. Submitted by: Name of person submitting the digital media to the City Manager’s Office.


The (iv) provision above especially is illegal. It’s an attempt to pre-control both speakers and content. And what if you want to show a city-issue-related video that you’re not appearing in or narrating?

Can’t be done?

So what should the council do instead if they’re so worried about this non-problem? It’s very easy, and legal. Let people show their videos FIRST, and then stop and cite them if there’s an alleged rule violation. No mandatory prior review.

That’s how free speech is supposed to work, folks. And if some shadowy guy wants to come in and show a video anonymously, that’s ok too.

Some Democrats up there on that Burbank City Council, eh? Anyone really think too that Rogers would go for all of these new requirements?

We don’t. Not all the pre-review written ones. No one should be required to identify themselves — ever — and no staff member should be allowed to limit what goes in front of the council from the public at a public meeting. Let the council decide what’s allowable based upon their own rules.

What if upon occasion they choose to waive them? That’s the council’s right too, but it’s one that staff will now deny them.






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19 responses to “Council’s new “digital” speakers rules won’t hold up in court

  1. DixieFlyer

    Staff is, once again, out-of-control.
    This current Council only meets when STAFF TELLS THEM TO!!!

    Public Comment, which served DECADES of our City Councils well
    is regularly ATTACKED by the overpaid STAFF.

    We need a Council to Take Back our City from staff.

    FIVE MINUTES was fine and dandy for YEARS.
    Our Council needs to be taught that they serve US, not staff.

    • semichorus

      Albano won’t even let them respond to the public at orals. She and Mr. Beverly Hills changed the rules for Burbank. When she first arrived here she was “shocked” at the “Brown Act problems” the council was creating.

      The same Brown Act she violates every week when she refuses to report out on actions taken during closed session. Which in most cases is REQUIRED by state law.

      Mr. Beverly Hills wouldn’t even let the council members criticize or question staff behavior. No close questioning in public on agenda items– he insisted they meet with him privately.

  2. Willie

    Most of those rules have been in effect but not enforced for decades. Up till now staff was too lazy to follow them too busy and who cared.

    Orals can’t be given to someone else now, if you bring a group you can’t come back up individually. Mike and Roy blew it by grandstanding with cute graphics and calling it a show. If they’d of stuck to agenda related topics, still can roll the tape would be all they’d need to say. Staff and council will be hard pressed to stop general public and let go mommy and her tikes talking about how scary walking to school is. Right now the 3 minutes get pushed by “newbies” by our mayor cutting them slack but the hammer comes down on the gadfly.

    • semichorus

      This new requirement that speakers first have to register with the authorities for approval before being allowed to go up to the podium and present their speech will NEVER hold up in court if challenged.

      The proper procedure for the city to follow is to set up your rules and then cite the speakers AFTER or when they have violated them. Not engage in any opportunities for prior restraint or administrative review.

    • There is no requirement to stick to agenda related topics during opening orals. Residents are invited to speak on ANY city business. Here’s our latest grandstanding “show”.

    • Anonymous

      Nothing wrong with calling it a “show”. They are trying to shoot the messenger. This is a power grab. Would never hold up in a court.

    • Jesse

      Hey Willie….
      What city position do you hold????
      Mike and Roy are the voice of reason!!!!

    • Anonymous

      We should all be grateful these dudes are taking the time to make these videos.They do their research and are getting out the OTHER side of the story. Think about it: we have no media coverage of CC shennanagans….

  3. Anonymous

    These guys nail it. Again.

  4. DixieFlyer

    Willie could be the voice of Rogers reaching out from his grave.
    His idea of free speech was for Will only, not the unwashed.

    Here’s another Rogers product being carried out by Ludddy & the
    Master Gardener.

    Check it out, staff has been playing with this that long.

    They hate the CONTENT..

    • semichorus

      I think Will would go for the rules, but not this new requirement that you have to register with the authorities ahead of time for permission and then name names.

      Will was an asshole and a chickenshit, but he wasn’t stupid. This new policy is fraught with potential legal problems. It’s clearly being used as a method of prior restraint and a ban on anonymity. Both illegal.

      The obvious solution is to just stop the tape if there’s a rule violation. But the people who are running this town now are stupid and arrogant. And dishonest.

      • Anonymous

        Rogers HATED the Mike and Roy show. It drove him NUTS that the info was getting out to the masses and M and R had fun doing it! He was a frustrated comedian and hated how funny the show sometimes was.

  5. Tom

    Something is really rotten to the core in Burbank when truth and facts send our council into hiding, No wonder the city is almost bankrupt when the so called leaders waste their time on crap like this. Frutos and Luddy go gran a shovel and fix a pot hole. Just make yourselves useful.

  6. William D

    I think Frutos should be required to fill out a permission card to speak and on that card he should be required to name names of who he spoke to that considers themselves the silent majority. Funny to me that person has a problem with Mike and Roy clearly identifying themselves while they sound like they meet Frutos in some dark alley.

    • semichorus

      It’d be nice if they and every other elected official would make a list of everyone they talk to in their position of city representative.

      Quite a few years ago the Republican courts ruled that they don’t have to. Something about how it might inhibit people.

      Too bad. Reform movements of the 60s and 70s were well on the way to establishing such disclosure rules. The Republican reaction of the 80s and 90s put a quick stop to it.

      Republicans. God’s curse on Mankind.

    • Anon

      Mr Frurtos and others who use terms like silent majority do that to cover and add mystery to their false claims. Silent Majority is something one can no quantify or even identify yet what is so secret and confidential about what he claimed ? NOTHING ! I always laugh at bogus claims like that its a lot like I have a friend who, which really means I not friend.

    • Anonymous

      Whenever fruitloops furrows his brow and looks like a needy puppy who “feels your pain” or says “I hear you”, he is lie mode.

  7. DixieFlyer

    It’s just so sad to see Bob Frutos fall into this habit.
    We need to hear what he-an elected official=feels about iissues.
    Anon is right, no need to add mystery.
    Take a stand.

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