After reading North Adams City Councilor Bona's explanation for considering City Council rule 10A -- that it is, the protection against slander at council meetings -- it is my opinion that this is so far from the truth, he needed to fabricate a reason to justify the rule.
There has not been any slanderous remarks at council meetings. Is exposing emails to the mayor by some councilors, the discussion of agenda items before meetings take place that I have questioned, or that decisions were being made behind closed doors the slander he is talking about? Could they be trying to draw attention away from themselves?
In the past, there has clearly been disruptive behavior by councilors themselves, such as speaking out of turn when not recognized, and muttering during discussion. And, how about the behavior of Council President Michael Bloom screaming at Councilor John Barrett III to be quiet? Isn't this disruptive behavior as well? Where is the decorum?
Is rule 10A going to apply to the councilors and mayor? The mayor can get into a heated discussion at times during the 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 and facts as to how the current administration and council conducts business.
At the General Government Committee, in the first five minutes, the city solicitor stated that the wording of rule 10A was illegal. Committee Chairman Bona, finally realizing how wrong and 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 Bloom, it appears to be illegal. It not only violates the U.S. Constitution, but also the Massachusetts 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 rights of free speech.
Councilor Bona stated that my scenario of comparing North Adams to Syria or Egypt is far fetched. Has he ever considered all the atrocities that have taken place in the 20th century?
So let's do the right thing and have some dialogue so a fair compromise can be attained in regard to rule 10A. Because the more the public is shut down, the deeper they will dig and the harder we will fight until you do the right thing for the taxpayers of North Adams.