Council Takes Steps to Preserve Order at City Meetings in Light of Recent Disruptions

Published : Tuesday, June 4, 2019 | 5:16 AM

A man self-identified only as Herman shouts profanities at the Pasadena City Council during the June 3, 2019 meeting.

As part of the consent calendar on Monday, the Pasadena City Council established rules for conduct at city meetings.

“Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks about members of the body, staff, or the public, or who shall become boisterous or threatening or personally abusive of the body, staff or members of the public shall be asked by the Mayor/Chair to cease and desist such activity, and may be requested or required to leave the meeting in the event the behavior continues to disrupt the meeting proceedings,” the resolution reads.

The new rules come after recent disruptions during several Council meetings by a man self-identified as Herman, who has used hate speech and profanity at several meetings.

He has also draped himself in Trump campaign material, and praise the Ku Klux Klan.

Councilmembers eventually turned to City Attorney/Prosecutor Michelle Bagneris for legal advice.

On Monday, he opposed the rules change with comments peppered with the N word.

“Everyone has a right to be heard,” he said as audience members demanded he leave the podium. “What they find to be offensive is not offensive according to constitutional law. Restriction is censorship.”

After the tirade ended, Mayor Tornek read a prepared statement.

“We do not endorse those words or sentiment,” Tornek said. “We are not the only community confronting this problem and we are working on ways to address it.”

The resolution also states that the Mayor/Chair can have disorderly people removed and limits the size of signs to 8.5 inches by 11 inches.

The resolution gives those running meetings the power to call on the sergeant at arms or any peace officer working in the city for assistance to help restore order, which can include removing disruptive audience members.

“The Mayor/Chair shall have the authority at all meetings to preserve order so that the body may carry out the public business expeditiously, to ensure that the public has an opportunity to be heard, to ensure that the body has the opportunity to meaningfully deliberate, and to enforce the rules of the body.”

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