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.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.