Council comment gong-master revealed: It’s Mayor Tom

The good news is that now we know who pulled the plug on citizens’ broadcast comments at the end of City Council meetings — none other than our consensus-loving mayor, Tom Leppert. When the DMN asked who censored the commenters a couple of weeks ago, no one at city hall owned up to it. Today, however, people showed up to protest against being muzzled, and Leppert decided to step forward and take the rap. Leppert’s defense, according to the DMN, was that his decision didn’t keep citizens from commenting at the council meetings; it only blocked WRR and the cable channel showing council meetings from broadcasting the comments. Interestingly, Leppert made the decision without seeking approval from the council; it turns out some councilmen seem to value the First Amendment a little more dearly than the mayor. In particular, Dave Levinthal of the News talked with Angela Hunt and Vonceil Jones Hill, both of whom voiced their displeasure with Leppert’s unwillingness to let a few mouthy citizens have their 30 seconds of fame every week or two. Bottom line; At least Leppert admitted his involvement and has heard the complaints, promising to "bring a revised policy back" to the council in January. Maybe Leppert’s next move can be installing a gong he can ring when someone says something he doesn’t like during a council meeting …


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