“I don’t usually lecture you about any- thing. I don’t pretend to be a lawyer or a member of the American Civil Liberties Union but I want to make a prediction to you about what is surely coming… that is…the official planned suspension of the public speaking portion of the city council meetings. You can bet on it.”– The mayor’s Blue Suit speaking to Josh Resnek Tuesday afternoon
In a city where the mayor makes every attempt to control public discourse to his own political advantage, residents speaking out in droves as they have been doing before the city council for the past month is a situation he cannot and will not tolerate. The public speaking portion of the city council meetings cannot be eliminated with the snap of a finger. It can be toyed with as Council President John Hanlon has been trying to do – and I understand it’s because he’s been under pressure from the corner office to put a cap on public speaking – to lock out the public from having their say.
The more Hanlon tries to crack the idiot Everett whip, the more that he insists going over the ten minutes allowed for public speaking is illegal, the greater the effort of those wishing to speak becomes.
In fact, the public speaking portion of the city council meetings have become the talk of the city. Why? Because the speakers are honest about what they have to say. They are not scripted like the councilors or married for better or worse to the whims of the mayor. When Maria Bussell spoke Monday night about councilors needing to act independently and to think honestly and to act with courage, she finished up her remarks saying this: “I want to note that I should not be retaliated against (by the mayor) nor should retribution be taken against me because I am a city employee who has spoken out.” Therein is a key that unlocks the door to the mayor’s base of power. It is not a base of power rooted in freedom of speech. It is a base of power that relies on free speech being denied and free speech being controlled and orchestrated by his city solicitor and his CFO Eric Demas. The mayor’s power can be used to attempt to dismiss someone like Maria Bussell who has worked for the city for 30 years, or anyone for that matter who is a city employee and who refuses to play the Carlo DeMaria political game.
Tip of the iceberg, you say to yourselves out there in the wonderland we call Everett. You are right. Freedom of speech means nothing to Carlo. Depriving freedom of speech is what turns him on. Resisting efforts to remove racist councilors who happen to be his cousin and campaign chief is what motivates Carlo. Trying to make Hanlon follow rules that simply don’t exist to stop public speaking will not work. Why? At 88, Hanlon shouldn’t be forced into a no win position by Carlo. What possible advantage is such a place for Hanlon. What could he possibly want or need from Carlo? We all know Carlo wants Sergio Cornelio out of his city clerk’s position. Carlo must figure if Hanlon is up to the mayor’s dirty work, then he would be up to voting against Cornelio for another term as city clerk.
I have been told by Hanlon one on one without equivocation that “I will not vote to get rid of Cornelio. I would never do that. I’m going to hold John to that. But let’s get back to the rules and what John likes to call “illegal” about allowing public speakers to go over the ten minute mark.
The rules and regulations about Public Participation is numbered Rule 10 in the city charter.
A. Each formal session of the city council shall include a period of public participation not to exceed ten (10) minutes.
There it is right there. That’s what Hanlon has been crying about.
However, what he does not mention is that when a vote of the council OK’s additional time to speak, it must be given. It is not up to the city council president to determine such things. It is up to the city council.
B. At regular meetings of the city council,the subject matter of public participation shall not be limited to the items before the city council at the present regular meeting. At any special meeting of the city council, the subject matter of public participation shall be limited to the subject matter of the present special meeting.
There you go, again. Questions about all things Everett can be asked or statements made at regular meetings. There are no boundaries ex- cept that the public is not allowed to spew obscenities as Anthony DiP- ierro does at Sergio Cornelio.
C. For the purpose of this rule, the term “public” shall be construed to mean any member of the public at large and not limited as to restrict any individual from participation.
Yes. You don’t have to prove you come from Everett, that you own a home in Everett, that your mother came from Everett that you love Everett or that you hate Everett. Sign in and await your turn to speak.
D. Each member of the public shall place their name, address and brief description of their topic(s) on the public participation sign-in sheet prior to the start of the formal session of the city council.
Hanlon has never required this nor has he paid any attention to this other than to read the names of those who signed the sheet.
E. Each member of the public shall be limited to no more than two (2) minutes of participation without unanimous consent of the members present. Large groups should designate a spokesperson to speak on a particular issue.
Each member of the public shall have two minutes…unless you are Bishop Brown, who was given 33 minutes to praise DiPierr’s forgiveness about his racism against Black people to prove to the mayor that he, Bishop Brown, is loyal to those who help his family out with contracts and city jobs. If you are Maria Bussell or any of the nine speakers who wished to speak Monday night, Hanlon demanded that they speak for 2 minutes only and then shut up and take your seat. Large groups of people, each of them with something different to say, are supposed to appoint a spokesperson. No such thing can ever really happen when each person wishing to speak has something different to say.
F. This rule does not limit or replace the provisions of Rule 16, which remains in full effect.
G. Participants shall address all comments to the president.
Speakers are to make believe they are talking to the council presi- dent – even if he is refusing to listen.
H. Participants shall not promote or oppose any candidate running for office.
At the present moment, and since November, no member of the city council is running for public office so speakers can say what they want. They can say the name of the councilor if they want. There is no rule against mentioning the councilor’s name. They can ask Council- or DiPierro to resign by name.
I. Participants shall not use public participation for political purposes.
Most public speakers are making moral or legal arguments about racism when it comes to asking for DiPierro’s resignation or that the mayor should repay the $180,000 he received in longevity as part of what Fred Capone calls a theft and a fraud.
J. Participants shall not advertise for commercial purposes or private gain.
No public speaker has yet stooped to the level of the mayor by mak- ing use of the free speech to make money from it.
K. Participants shall not make personal attacks on or make any accusatory statements against any city council members or other elected or appointed city officials.
Speakers are allowed to explore the racism of councilors, the connections councilors have to the mayor and his gravy train or to city jobs, pensions, and contracts. Accusatory statements are different from the truth being uttered by public speakers who have the proof of what they are alleging.
L. Anyone making out-of-order comments or acting in an unruly manner shall be subject to removal from the meeting.
The first two to be ejected should be DiPierro and his girlfriend. And by the way, there is no rule whether real or imagined that does not allow public speakers to mention councilor’s names.
M. This rule shall be posted in the chambers for public viewing and understanding of rules.