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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Freedom of Expression and Local Municipal Governments

Freedom of Expression issues involving local municipal governments have been growing it seems as of late. In Morganton, they have been broadcasting their meetings for years and Citizen comments have been a part of the local broadcast of those meetings and those comments were taking place at the end of meetings. In the past month, the Mayor and City Council of Morganton have taken it upon themselves to change those rules.

At the December 2, 2013meeting, the implementation of new rules took place. Citizen comments start 30 minutes before the City Council meeting takes place and they are no longer part ,of the agenda, so they are no longer recorded for broadcast on the City's Cable public access channel where these meetings have been broadcast in their entirety.

Why did the Morganton City Council take this action? Because there is a recall petition against Mayor Mel Cohen that started because the Council has taken several actions over the last several years that many people feel do not represent the will of the people. Currently there have been 1,600 signatures collected of the roughly 2,300 that are needed. Like most Mayors in the South, it seems that the Democratic process of citizen's government checks and balances just tears Mel Cohen up. He doesn't want any of this to be publicized and wants the citizen voice to be squelched.

A citizen of Morganton, Carol Snow, decided that she was going to record the Citizen Comments and request that this recording be put on COMPAS cable. You can see that video below. COMPAS cable said that they don't have to broadcast these minutes because Morganton Inc. owns the cable system. I don't believe that is the case. I believe that the citizens of Morganton own the cable system. This sounds like another legal case to me.

What we see is that local municipal leaders throughout the country are daring citizens to challenge them in court. They are willing to use the heavy hand of government to strong arm the citizenry to form policies that benefit only those tied into the crony system. The local governments have their lawyers and unlimited access to the public treasury to steer issues towards the municipal corporate interest even when that interest works against the interest and will of the majority of the public. Any citizen who attempts to stand up for the public will have to obtain legal representation to attempt to defend their inalienable Constitutional rights. This is expensive, but if you aren't willing to hire an attorney, then don't waste your time. And if you are seeking free legal representation, then please understand, you get what you pay for.

Yes, this isn't right... this isn't fair. This system is built to work against average, ordinary people. This system has destroyed citizen government and ushered in tyranny. As we travel further into the Hell on Earth model, people are going to have to be willing to stand up for themselves. Don't look for someone else to take responsibility for you. If you do not exercise your rights, you will lose them.

1 comment:

talferris said...

I believe that Morganton, City of is operating outside statutory authority as well and with complete disregard of what the Legislature intended.

§ 160A-81.1. Public comment period during regular meetings.

The council shall provide at least one period for public comment per month at a regular meeting of the council. The council may adopt reasonable rules governing the conduct of the public comment period, including, but not limited to, rules (i) fixing the maximum time allotted to each speaker, (ii) providing for the designation of spokesmen for groups of persons supporting or opposing the same positions, (iii) providing for the selection of delegates from groups of persons supporting or opposing the same positions when the number of persons wishing to attend the hearing exceeds the capacity of the hall, and (iv) providing for the maintenance of order and decorum in the conduct of the hearing. The council is not required to provide a public comment period under this section if no regular meeting is held during the month. (2005-170, s. 3.)