(Pinned for timeliness. Until this new policy gets tossed, what speakers should do is just go up to the podium and read direct transcripts of the videos they’re not allowed to show. Make a mockery of these clowns. Don’t show the Mike and Roy video, read it instead.)
Exactly what point is there for the city to be doing this? It’s not like there are lines of people anymore eagerly waiting to go in front of the council at orals. If only it were 1996 again!
Just sent to the council last night:
Dear Council Member,
I am writing today to warn you of “fine print” that is included in the City Manager’s option 3 in his recommendations for a new Digital Media Policy. If the City Manager’s office has not specifically pointed out this fine print, please ask yourself why not. I stand with many in our community who believe it is another attempt by city staff to deceive you into advancing their agenda. This time, by limiting the rights of specific individual’s, Mike and Roy, and targeting the content of our videos used to express our views at City Council meetings.
Below is just a sampling of what is being said about this on social media. These comments were taken from Burbank’s Angry Blog. It seems like most people agree that the new restrictions target me and Roy and that they are illegal. I have consulted with a lawyer as well as representatives from the ACLU who also agree and have recommended that Roy and I file a lawsuit against the City of Burbank if the City Council chooses to approve ANY of the three options recommended by the City Manager. Roy and I are prepared to follow through with recommended legal action.
Option 1 is to “Allow digital media with specific limitations”. These limitations are way too restrictive and violate the rights of residents. Option 2 is a “Blanket prohibition of digital media”. Is this really necessary? Are you so afraid to give your critics a voice in our community? I hope not. Don’t forget that Burbank residents have been permitted the use of videos in public comment for decades. Even former Mayor Will Rogers showed videos at City Council meetings.
Option 3 is of greatest concern. It says, “Continue with current practice” but does not! PLEASE read the fine print on the reverse of the “Digital Media Submission Form” and you will see that many of the restrictions from Option 1 are added back in through the submission process. Please give special attention to the second to the last bullet point in this fine print; “If a video is played during public comment at the Council meeting, all speakers, narrators and others participating in the video, who communicate their views in the video, including through a sign or place card, are deemed to have waved further public comment time during that comment period regardless of their actual time on the video…” If this wasn’t specifically pointed out by the City Manager’s office, I hope this causes you enough concern to not choose ANY of his options and just leave the Digital Policy as it exists.
You only have to sit through 3 minutes per speaker. Is that too much to ask? You already reduced our time from 5 minutes to 3 minutes in this comment period. We should really be allowed 5 minutes and EVERYBODY who submits a comment card should be allowed to express themself the way they choose and not the way Ron Davis chooses.
You were elected to represent the residents of Burbank and to protect and defend our rights. Tonight, please show us that you are willing to do that by standing up to Ron Davis and the office of the City Manager by not choosing any of the three options recommended in his staff report regarding a new Digital Media Policy. We deal with enough of this type of censorship, bullying and intimidation from our President and hope that our local politics can be a bit more civil and inclusive. The City Manager claims that the current Digital Media Policy gives me and Roy an “unfair advantage.” Over what? Over whom? Does he think this is a competition? We are just trying to express the views of many community members and share information to which they would otherwise not have access. Please do not accept any of the three options offered in the City Manager’s recommendation.
The two most compelling illegalities about the city’s new policy here is that it requires prior administrative approval to go before the council with any kind of video and that it bans anonymity by requiring a personal identifier.
Albano’s pretty hamfistedly inept, isn’t she? She actually cleared this policy? And Judge Murphy’s on board with it?
Really? Rogers would never have completely gone for it. That we’re sure of from his prior history on open meetings and public comment. Will was also savvy about the city not doing something dumb that would unnecessarily rile up the rubes.
Besides everything else, what good public policy reason lies behind its adoption apart from the desire to expressly limit two specific residents of Burbank?
This new policy is also incredibly easy to get around. As we’ve pointed out several times already, all a subsequent speaker has to do in lieu of playing a video of a repeat offender is just recite its written transcript. Even do it in different voices. The council gonna ban that as well?
Why not? It’s someone else’s speech too.