3 Responses to “Libert vs. citizen participation”

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During the Open Discussion & Announcements section of tonight’s St. Cloud City Council meeting, Councilman Johnson rose to speak about the petition I wrote about in this post. After a few introductory comments, Councilman Johnson recognized Dr. Palmer for the purposes of letting him speak on the petition. Before Dr. Palmer was allowed to speak, Councilman Libert objected.

What happened next was nothing short of befuddling. First, the rule cited by Council President Lewis and Councilman Libert is unconstitutional on its face. Government can’t make rules that silence citizens. Period. That’s what this means:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

By objecting, Libert prohibited a citizen from speaking. The Supreme Court has held that political speech is the most protected speech of all. This isn’t the first time that the City Council has silenced Dr. Palmer. But I digress.

After Libert’s objection, Councilman Johnson reasserted his right to recognize a citizen to speak. Matt Staehling then ruled that Libert was within his rights in preventing Dr. Palmer from speaking. Johnson and Palmer both immediately demanded that the specific Council rule be posted on the overhead screen rather than accepting Staehling’s ruling. How stupid is a rule that lets a councilman recognize a citizen but another councilman can essentially exercise a one-person veto that prohibits that citizen from speaking?

Putting things impolitely, these liberals on the Council aren’t intellectual giants. I’ve met kids in high school that have more intellectual heft than some of these councilmembers.

While that was going on, Council President Lewis announced that she was going to look for the rule on her brand new iPad. Councilman Johnson predicted that she wouldn’t find it. Dr. Palmer quipped that his older iPad must be defective because that rule wasn’t on his iPad. Watch this all play out in this video, starting at 36:45:

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After much arguing, Council President Lewis moved onto the final portion of the meeting. Once again, the St. Cloud City Council attempted to silence Dr. Palmer. The question must be asked why the City Council is intimidated by Dr. Palmer. Further, what gives them the right to stifle the speech of its citizens? Let’s remember that if this petition is put on the ballot, it isn’t binding. Dr. Palmer simply wants to bring up the subject because the City Council has attempted to silence discussion on the issue.

Meanwhile, the citizens are infuriated that their representatives on the City Council won’t talk about what’s important to their constituents. In St. Cloud, we don’t have a government of, by and for the people. Instead, we have a government of people who see themselves as imperialists. They aren’t there to serve the people. To people like Laraway, Lewis, Libert, Masters and Goerger, citizens are essentially a nuisance.