Local activist wins free speech case in state supreme ...
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On May 14th, St. Cloud City Council Member Jeff Johnson attempted to recognize a citizen who would act as an expert witness to an unpopular (among the Saint Cloud City Council) motion regarding "Home Rule" privilege and a moratorium on refugee resettlement in the City of St. Cloud. The Council voted to disallow recognition at that time. John Palmer finally was allowed to speak toward the 'open comments' section at the end, when he called the Council Members out for continually refusing to hear opposing viewpoints, and/or making them extremely difficult to be heard.
06:39 The rule is found and read into the record, then ignored by the council in a vote to silence Dr. John Palmer
RULE 16. Recognition of Citizens
Any member at a regular council meeting, including study sessions, may recognize any person WITHOUT OBJECTION, for the purpose of providing testimony or addressing the council on a specific agenda item being considered by the council. Said recognition shall terminate upon a motion passed by a majority vote of the members present.
Council Member John Libert's objection is not allowed per RULE 16. Citizens are allowed to speak, after which, a motion may be made to terminate the discussion.
Council President Carol Lewis wrongly moves forward with a moot vote of the majority based on Council Member John Libert's objection that is not allowed per RULE 16, yet used to silence Dr. John Palmer.
02:10 Council Member Jeff Johnson exercises privilege to recognize Saint Cloud citizen Dr. John Palmer to talk about refugee resettlement.
02:38 Council Member John Libert objects to Jeff Johnson's privilege to recognize Saint Cloud citizen Dr. John Palmer.
02:44 Council President Carol Lewis makes no attempt to honor Jeff Johnson's privilege and immediately defers to John Libert's objection and presses to move on.
02:52 Council Member Jeff Johnson states the decision to silence a citizen in this forum does not represent the rules that govern the City Council.
03:04 Other Council Members fumble to find and state the rule that allows the objection of one council member to silence citizens of Saint Cloud.
03:28 Citizen Dr. John Palmer asks for the rule to be displayed on the screen for all citizens to read so that it is not subject to the interpretation of council members.
03:39 Dr. John Palmer explains this is the second time he has been silenced by the members of the Saint Cloud City Council. And, despite requests for an apology from the council, none were offered. John explains he has read the rules and he has the right to address to council. Dr. Palmer explains he was present during the adoption of the new rule amendments.
03:58 Council Member Jeff Johnson requests a hard copy of the rules. Noting a recent extensive study session on the rules and the option to cease discussion after the citizen is heard, Council Member Jeff Johnson states he is not aware of any rule that overrides his privilege to recognize and present a citizen of Saint Cloud to speak to the City Council.
04:34 Council Member John Libert restates his objection. Other council members continue to fumble to find the rule.
03:54 Citizen Dr. John Palmer is prepared and offers a copy of the rules that he has on his computer. His offer is ignored.
04:00 - 06:30 Saint Cloud City Council Members search for a copy of the rules in order to silence citizens.