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.
CITY COUNCIL DIGITAL MEDIA SUBMISSION FORM AND PROCESS
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.