consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

RAMSEY - Order vs disruption. If you don't like it get elected, with enough henchpersons, and change it. For now the way it is but better would be the way it should be.

Readers, figure out what should be. As a hypothetical, a Moss Moment, at a staid council session - on camera, all ages watching and not a simulation, the real thing.

Disruptive? What to do?

An arguably verbal Moss Moment [or two] spawned a protocol. This protocol - all meetings, each meeting, televised or not:

City staff, after formal adoption of the above, sent all board and commission chairs notice of things as they now will be.

The authority to enact measures to deal with disruptions comes from Minnesota State Statutes.

At the work session of September 2, 2014, the City Council discussed a Continuum of Action as it pertains to meeting disruptions. Because State Statutes speaks to a process for dealing with disruptions at meetings, Council did not have to formally adopt a policy. Council did, however review a sample Continuum of Action and agreed it should be tailored to fit the City of Ramsey and posted in the public meeting rooms at the Municipal Center. These rooms include the Council Chambers, the Alexander Ramsey Room and the Lake Itasca Room. The Continuum of Action that is posted in these areas is attached for your review.

Along with the Continuum of Action, Council reviewed “Disruption Instructions”. Council agreed with the instructions and directed staff to place a copy of the instructions at the Council dais. Extra copies of the Disruption Instructions were printed and laminated and will be placed with the Council/Board/Commission nameplates if the public meeting is held in either of the other two rooms.

Council asked that the Chairs of the Committees and Boards be made aware of the Continuum of Action and the Disruption Instructions. Please note there has not been a history of disruptions at our Commission/Board meetings and it is unlikely it will happen; however, we wanted the Committee/Board Chairs to be aware of the policy in case the need arises. As you are aware, a meeting/training was scheduled for Tuesday, September 23, beginning at 5:00; however, that meeting was canceled.

It is public data, the public deserves sunshine on good, bad and ugly, with readers to figure which this is.

Did I mention: All politics is local?

[Politics being singular despite ending in an "s." Politic, no s, can be an adjective, as in "the body politic." As in "Mr. Moss disruptively displayed his body politic." Verstehen Sie?]

It makes me remember Kurak-Hendriksen days. The old days.

A procedure for enforcing the protocol, should an event trigger a need:

Can you envision: "Mr. Moss, this disruptive behavior should cease ... This meeting is recessed."

But wait --- It says "verbally disruptive" and not "verbally or demonstratively disruptive" - all they're doing is carrying signs, but NOT saying, "Hooray for our side." Mr. Moss insisting, "I did not SAY a thing ...".

Would signage be disruptive? What is to happen to the First Amendment under these new protocols and procedures? It smacks of prior restraint to me. This is not the danger of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater at issue. Far from it. It's a will to curtail citizen input. Tell me it is not, explain that. Explain recent sequences and events.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
I do recall the old days. No "Mr. Mayor," "Madame Mayor," instead voices raised, a council table verbal flurry, an expressive exit. True theater. Days of yore.

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