To my surprise, but something I have been concerned about, at the beginning of the city council meeting tonight, Brekke put on the record her objection to a section of how public input is conducted.
Remember when the city council moved public input to the back of the meeting recently (a 4-5 vote with tie-breaker from person of the year Mayor TenHaken) they specifically said that members of the public could not talk about decisions that were made final by the council during the meeting.
This is a clear violation of citizens 1st Amendment rights, as Brekke pointed out in her objection it concerns prior restraint;
InÂ First AmendmentÂ law, prior restraint is government action that prohibits speech or other expression before the speech happens.
Prior restraint typically happens in a few ways. It may be aÂ statuteÂ orÂ regulationÂ that requires a speaker to acquire a permit or license before speaking. Prior restraint can also be a judicialÂ injunctionÂ that prohibits certain speech. There is a third way–discussed below–in which the government outright prohibits a certain type of speech. Courts typically disfavor prior restraint and often find it to be unconstitutional.
Basically Brekke points out that since decisions were already made during the meeting, voted on and final, the public has a right to address them and the government (city council or mayor) cannot limit them.
Even though Brekke’s opinion is NOT alone (there are many Supreme Court rulings about this) City Attorney Kooistra vehemently opposed her and basically told her she was wrong. It surprised me, actually astonished me how little the city attorney knows about 1st Amendment rights. From the mayor’s performance during the objection, it is clear he has no clue what 1st Amendment rights are, that has been blatantly obvious for a long time, but for an attorney with a law degree that has practiced in the military and in the private sector I would think he would be aware where the Supreme Court stands on this issue.
If Mr. Kooistra really wants to try out his Constitutional chops on this one, I would love to watch him get pummeled by a free speech attorney when someone from the public challenges this when the chair tries to shut them down for this ludicrous and unconstitutional rule violation. He may just get his day in the spotlight. Well, Mr. Kooistra, you know what Andy Warhol once said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”Â Good luck.