Re: “Public comment unplugged” (news article, March 23).
The City Commission’s policy allowing commissioners to mute speakers presents a problem only if it is abused. It enforces professionalism and decorum at the meetings, which is completely reasonable.
T he commission was neither abusing its power nor infringing on the First Amendment when Mayor Marks muted Erwin Jackson. Jacks on was clearly violating the rules of the meeting. He has a right to his opinion, but he is not supposed to make provocative personal attacks. There is nothing stopping him from speaking his mind elsewhere, but w hen he is in front of the commission, he must follow the rules and procedures.
Giving commissioners the ability to mute speakers at will does provide tempting opportunity to misuse this power, though. We should give the commission a chance and see how this works out. If the commissioners infringe on the speakers’ right to free speech, we should actively complain. If they only enforce proper decorum — which is reasonable so long as it is not abused — we should be respectful of their right to do so.
B. L. STOKES