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OPINION: Rules Enforcement Concerns Mostly Answered

While I take issue with Mr. Briden’s comments in his ‘rebuttal’ to my previous letter circulated in other media forums. Including his attempts in his response to obfuscate the issue by claiming some kind of agenda to silence him and his attempts to paint me as smearing him, while championing the First Amendment regarding Mr. Kevin Oliver’s remarks which smeared both an elected official and city employee. 

I am hoping the subsequent dialogue I had with him at the February 20 Council meeting has mostly resolved the issue. 

So the record is clear for readers, Mayor Briden, when Mr. Oliver finished and asked if anyone wanted to respond, stated, on video the following when Mr. Faria said he would accept the invitation to comment.

“Under our rules though we really… no no no no no no, these are the rules, we follow the rules, the rules are the same for everyone. We don’t regulate the content of speech and when they’re up there we don’t say anything, the rules apply equally to everyone”

Then after Mr. Faria got a few words in, Mr. Briden hit the gavel and said “we’re really not supposed to respond to public comment… you’re not allowed to do that, we gotta, you can’t, the rules apply the same to everyone.”

This was all after Kevin Oliver was finished at the podium.

But yet, at a meeting back in June, those rules did not apply to Mr. Briden when he chose to respond to public comment and he also let other council members and the city manager do so as well at that time.

Further, Mr. Briden stated in his press rebuttal that my letter was “factually inaccurate” and “legal analysis is incorrect”, yet Mr. Briden did not cite the rule he was attempting to enforce. It does not require a deep legal analysis to see the absence of any rule in the council rules of procedure that stops a response to public comment.

At the February 20 meeting, I addressed Mr. Briden directly during communications. I discussed much of the above with him and it was concluded decisively that there is no rule or provision of the OMA that prohibits council member response.

We also had a strong dialogue regarding the thought process behind his actions at the February 6 meeting and I think we both ended that discussion with a better understanding of each other’s views, I would like to move forward from this matter amicably.