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Tempe won't air public remarks from meetings on Tempe government TV

Tempe won't air public remarks from meetings on Tempe government television

Tempe won't air public remarks from meetings on Tempe government radio

  Hey, the whole purpose of these government run TV networks are to get the current members of the Tempe city council and mayor reelected.

Why on earth would they want to air public remarks which could be negative to the existing royal rulers of the city of Tempe when it could hinder their reelection efforts???

Source

Tempe won't air public remarks from meetings

by Dianna M. Nez - Sept. 18, 2012 11:34 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Even as Tempe tries to become more transparent, the council has decided not to broadcast the public-comments portion of its council meetings, prompting free-speech concerns and criticism that residents may never hear some of their neighbors' concerns.

Last month,Tempe's new mayor, Mark Mitchell, and new council reaffirmed the city's practice of not posting the public-comments portion of council meetings on the city website, not televising it during the live city cable broadcasts and not rebroadcasting it. [Hey, Mayor Mark Mitchell and former Mayor Hugh Hallman certainly don't want any of my comments calling them crooks and tyrants to be broadcast on the Tempe TV and Radio propaganda network. People may believe me and vote the creeps out of office]

Tempe and Phoenix are among the few major Valley cities that don't air the public-comments sessions that often come at the end of such meetings or after regular council meetings.

Phoenix officials said they are making other moves to become transparent, including broadcasting council workshops and public comment there. Tempe officials, saying potential legal problems prompted the policy, pointed out that residents still have access to public comments if they attend the meeting in person. [But we are told that is the whole purpose of these city governments spending mega bucks, broadcasting the city council meetings. OK, they lied about that. The only purpose of broadcasting these city council meetings is to help the current mayor and city council members look good so they can be reelected]

Chandler, Scottsdale, Glendale, Gilbert and Mesa are among the cities that broadcast the public-comments portion of council meetings on their cable channels.

Residents are still allowed to speak on certain items on council agendas in Valley municipalities, including Phoenix and Tempe. However, the broadcast practices in those two cities apply to the public-comments portion during Tempe's formal meetings and after Phoenix's formal meetings. Those comments range from the rancorous to the benign and have become commonplace at local government meetings across the country.

A national coalition fighting censorship said not broadcasting the public-comments portion prevents residents from speaking to a wider audience and limits access to speech and information aired at the meeting about their government. [And that is the reason these meetings are broadcast, is to make it easier for the current city council members to get reelected. Not to educate the public.]

Tempe tapes the public-comment portion of its meeting but does not broadcast it. Phoenix ends the formal council meeting, then turns off the camera during the public-comments portion that follows.

Phoenix officials say they are making moves to become more transparent to those who cannot attend public meetings. The city has broadcast council policy sessions for more than 20 years, and after new Mayor Greg Stanton called for greater transparency, in April Phoenix also started broadcasting regular council meetings. They make a "call to the public" at six subcommittee meetings to invite participants to comment on any topic, Phoenix spokeswoman Toni Maccarone said.

Tempe City Manager Charlie Meyer said he made the decision not to air the public-comments portion with input from the council about 11/2 years ago. [Translation - the city council told him what to do, and he pretended to make the decision on his own] The move came after problems with a Tempe resident, Eleanor Holguin, who Meyer said was making "potentially slanderous" remarks about city employees. [Well if that is the case let the city employees who have been slandered sue Eleanor Holguin. It certainly isn't a good reason to shut down free speech if Eleanor Holguin slanders one or two city employees!]

The goal, he said, was to protect city workers from potential defamation and to protect the city from potential legal harm for having provided a forum to amplify potentially slanderous criticism during the broadcast and rebroadcast of public comment, Meyer said. [What BS!!!! That is just a lame excuse for the royal rulers of Tempe to censor speech they don't like!]

Originally, Meyer and City Attorney Andrew Ching would review Holguin's comments during initial live broadcasts and delete speech they viewed problematic from rebroadcasts. But Meyer said he worried about the potential First Amendment implications of picking and choosing certain comments, so he decided to stop airing all public comment.

Holguin said Tuesday that she has not spoken at a meeting in months because she hoped the new mayor and council would follow through on their promise of greater transparency and change the policy.

She is still adamant that she has the right to complain about the city's police chief, city workers, the council and city manager. [And the mayor and city councilmen of Tempe certainly don't want you to hear any complaints about the alleged crooks they have hired to run the city of Tempe for them. What a better way to keep the public from finding out then to not broadcast the public's comments on the Tempe government propaganda TV station]

Councilman Kolby Granville, who was elected in May to his first term, recently fought the practice, asking the council last month during its annual retreat to reconsider and return to its earlier tradition of broadcasting all public comment.

The city should not be in the business of censorship, he said. Granville argued that there are residents who cannot make the meetings and they deserve to hear issues that their neighbors care about enough to bring to the council.

Some residents use the forum to discuss problems they are experiencing with city government or municipal services. [And of course the mayor and city council members certainly don't want anybody watching these TV show to know that their dumb *ss decisions created problems for Tempe residents or about dumb *ss decisions that caused the city of Tempe to waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money!!!]

"That broadcast allows people with common problems to find community," he said.

On Tuesday, Granville said he would still like the council to revisit the issue. "I think anytime you've provided a forum or opportunity for residents to voice legitimate concerns within the community that's only to the further and betterment of free speech," he said.

However, Granville said, he respects the council and manager's view and would not formally raise the concern again unless there is public outcry. Mitchell said if he heard from constituents he would also reconsider the issue.

Svetlana Mintcheva of the National Coalition Against Censorship said Tempe should reconsider because it has backed a policy created to address one person, but an entire city is being punished.

The policy also may impinge on the First Amendment rights of the audience watching at home.

"There is the opportunity for the public forum to be transmitted to the whole community," Mintcheva said. " And in this case it is important to do so because access to information and speech is no less important than the right to the individual to speak."

Censorship issues are a concern as well, she said.

"This type of speech, political speech on issues of public interest, it carries the highest level of First Amendment protection," she said. "They're pre-emptively censoring debate on issues of public interest ... before there has been any allegation that there is actual slander."

Granville said Tempe residents know how to decipher credible public comments.

"As soon as you start picking and choosing what's the kind of speech you want to hear and what's the kind of speech you don't want to hear -- I think that's a bad thing," Granville said.

 
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