Tuesday, October 04, 2016

1st Amendment Group Revising SF Public Comment Rules

Sheriff Vicki Hennessy and her chief of staff Eileen Hirst today met with open govt advocate Ray Hartz and myself in her City Hall office to discuss the infringement of my First Amendment rights at the Sept 26 meeting of the Ethics Commission.

During public comment, I held a BART campaign sign of mine and attempted to speak, but three commissioners interrupted me claiming I was banned from doing this. Watch the video to see and hear what went down, me battling three lawyers one of whom is a retired judge.

Eventually, sheriff deputies were called to intimidate me and I put my sign away before they arrived. This episode is the basis for my complaint to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, in which I alleged open govt laws were violated.

My request to Hennessy for a meeting to discuss how I wish to be left alone at public comment time at Board of Supervisors and all commission meetings at City Hall, and on SFGovTV, and to speak on any issue including my campaign and hold a sign no bigger than 11" x 17" was granted.

Hennessy informed us that a City Hall work group has formed comprised of herself and Hirst, Clerk of the Board Angela Calvillo, a representative of the City Attorney's Office to be determined, Noami Kelly who's the City Administrator.

They've been in touch regarding my Sept 26 episode, the need to finally respect all First Amendment rights, clarifying and revising the public comment rules, establishing a uniform policy that applies to all bodies, providing deputies with a binder detailing the policy and a copy in every meeting room and related matters stemming from my complaint against the ethics commissioners.

For too long, members of the public at San Francisco City Hall have been wrongfully told they couldn't hold a political sign or show it on SFGovTV and that certain verbal content about elections or criticism against electeds or commissioners by name, subject to intimidation by deputies, had microphones turned off, been pushed away from podiums or ejected from meeting room by deputies, and a horrendous and willful disregard for the First Amendment.

That is changing.

With me recording the verbal portion of the meeting today, Hennessy promised I would receive the list of attendees at the work group meetup on Friday, a summary of what was discussed and we'd sit down again next week to move the revision process along.

Watch the video of my battle with the ethics commissioners and deputy city attorney who couldn't produce the text of a single law granting them the privilege of interrupting me and ordering me put down a small hand-held sign:

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