After reading North Adams City Councilor Bona’s explanation for considering Rule 10A, that it is for protection against slander at council meetings, it is my opinion that is so far from the truth he needed to fabricate a reason to justify the rule. There have not been any slanderous remarks at council meetings. However, how about the alleged remarks by Councilors Blackmer and Harpin at past meetings? Councilor Bona’s memory is very short to say the least.
Is exposing emails to the mayor by some councilors and the discussion of agenda items before meetings take place that I have questioned, or that decisions were made behind closed doors, the slander he is talking about? Could he be trying to draw attention away from themselves? In the past, there has clearly been disruptive behavior by councilors, such as speaking when not recognized and muttering during discussion. Is Rule 10A going to apply to the councilors and the mayor? The mayor can get into a heated discussion during meetings and never be gaveled out of order. Is this proper decorum? The entire rule seems to be aimed at one person -- me -- in an effort to stifle me from exposing the truth as to how the administration and council conduct business.
The city solicitor stated at the general government committee meeting that the wording of Rule !0A was illegal. Chairman Bona, realizing how poorly rule 10A was written, asked the solicitor for guidance. With the initial knee jerk reaction and arrogance of the language crafted by Council President Michael Bloom it appears to not only violate the U.S. Constitution but the state Constitution. If they are willing to do that then we are on track to take to the streets of North Adams to defend the First Amendment.
So let’s do the right thing and have some dialogue so a fair compromise can be attained in regard to Rule 10A. The more the public is shut down, the deeper it will dig, and the harder we will fight to assure you do the right thing for the taxpayers.