Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Brownsville Voters Euphoric Over Restoration of the Broadcast of Public Comment

The town, that is those interested enough to vote, is hyped, almost euphoric.  Deep down, they knew the ban on the broadcast of citizen comments during city commission meetings was wrong on several levels; morally, democratically, politically.

A local politico yelled to me across E. 10th Street: "What did the city commission do about public comment?'

Longtime newscaster and former COB Public Information Officer Bill Young asked the same at H.E.B.: " What did they decide about public comment?"

Rescinding the ban fosters hope.  Perhaps, the city commission, even without support from the mayor, will operate like a democratic institution henceforth, not a condescending bureaucracy.

In 2014, I bought a new video camera and tripod. My plan was to individually videotape each public commenter, publishing them on my blog.  But, shortly thereafter, Nena had her first stroke and three additional episodes and we were unable to attend city commission meetings.

Texas HB283, requiring cities in Texas to provide citizens with video of city commission and board meetings became law in June 2015.  I waited for the City of Brownsville to be in compliance, but when the 1/05/16 video of the city commission meeting still deleted public comment, I filed a complaint with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.  Paxton refused to enforce the law, passing the buck back to me to file with the local district attorney.  Yeah, fat chance of that working!

City Attorney Mark Sossi
It is certainly not a coincidence that the city commission has now turned the regulating of public comment over to unethical City Attorney Mark Sossi, giving him the latitude to provide rules that would foster "greater diversity" in the commenters.  That is actually funny!  For those who remember, several years ago, when then Commissioner Melissa Zamora attempted to introduce an agenda item to rescind the ban on the broadcast of public comment, Mark Sossi gave a highschoolish power point endeavoring to prove that the blocking of the broadcast of public comment had created a "greater diversity" in the commenters.  

Most of the commissioners will not remember this scenario, but they've just given the fox control of the hen house.  Lol!

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