Nudity and mask wearing may be forbidden at Boulder City Council?

Boulder city council meetings can be lively affairs -- but council members George Karakehian and Lisa Morzel don't want the civic party to go out of bounds.

This week, they introduced "Draft Rules of Decorum" intended to outlaw behavioral extremes, including... nudity and mask-wearing?

Some context is in order:

At a city council meeting in February, Boulder resident and well-known gadfly Seth Brigham was arrested for trying to strip to his boxers to protest a possible nudity ban. The next month, Brigham got an apology, sort of, but that wasn't enough for him. Last month, attorney David Lane wrote in a letter to council that Brigham was determined to sue the city if his concerns about free speech at such sessions weren't adequately addressed.

Presumably, Karakehian and Morzel feel such problems can be prevented if clearer rules are established. Hence, their proposed decorum guidelines, which set standards for the public in passages like this one:

While in attendance at a council meeting, no attendee shall disrupt, disturb, or otherwise impedes [sic] the orderly conduct of any council meeting by any means, including by uttering loud, threatening, or abusive language, making any personal, impertinent, contemptuous, unduly repetitive, slanderous, or profane remarks, nor engaging in any other verbal or physical disorderly conduct that. [sic] Disorderly conduct includes without limitation shouting, jeering, clapping, whistling, stamping of feet, disrobing, wearing a mask or material of any kind that obscures the face of the person, boisterous conduct, or other acts which disturb, disrupt, or otherwise impede the orderly conduct of any meeting, Disorderly conduct also includes failing to obey any lawful order of the presiding officer to be seated, leave the meeting room, or refrain from addressing the council, board, or commission.

How's Brigham feel about such language? The subject line in an e-mail to members of the media featuring the weekly information packet memorandum linked above read, "Unbelievable! More attacks on the public's right to free speech at Council Chambers. New rules to be imposed by the fascist Boulder City Council."

Say that in a council meeting if these rules pass and you'll get your ass kicked out, pal.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts