Fort Myers News-Press by Melissa Montoya
July 29, 2019
Who decides what’s appropriate speech at a city council meeting? Two Fort Myers City Council members have an idea about that.
Led by Councilman Fred Burson’s motion, the council voted 6-1 at a recent meeting to have City Attorney Grant Alley draft an ordinance prohibiting “abusive, derogatory, hurtful, insulting, aggressive, hateful, racist, rude, vulgar, threatening, menacing, hostile, nasty, belittling, offensive, foul and cursing” language at city council meetings.
Burson wants to be able to sanction violators with a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Councilwoman Terolyn Watson voted against the measure. Council also approved placing a civility pledge outside of the chamber.
Burson said speakers should focus on the agenda items and city business.
Councilman Kevin Anderson said he too had planned to propose a civility motion and provided suggested language to the city attorney for his opinion. Alley said he would report back to the council with an update in 30 days.