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Monday, October 21, 2013

Personal animosity is never correct, legal, or even productive

Law and Propriety

From the Municipal Code (City law)

Sec. 2-60. Propriety of conduct of council members

Members of the council shall preserve order and decorum during a meeting.

It shall be unlawful for any member of the council to violate any of the following rules:

. . . Members of the council shall not, by disorderly, insolent or disturbing action, speech, or otherwise, substantially delay, interrupt or disturb the proceedings of the council. . .

 (Code 1960, § 2223; Ord. No. 72-38, § 2, 10-16-72; Ord. No. 85-26, § 2, 10-21-85)

In the past, the law listed above would have seemed superfluous; after all, folks elected to conduct Costa Mesa’s business and to represent all of the citizens of the City would be responsible and honorable people. We expect respect for government process from government officers even when they don't get their way.

Laws apply to the audience 

Sec. 2-61. Propriety of conduct while addressing the council.

It shall be unlawful for any person while addressing the council at a council meeting to . .

. . . make any personal, impertinent, profane, insolent, or slanderous remarks.

. . .  yell at the council in a loud, disturbing voice.

. . .  speak without being recognized by the presiding officer.

. . .  continue to speak after being told by the presiding officer that his allotted time for addressing the council has expired. . .

(Code 1960, § 2224; Ord. No. 72-38, § 2, 10-16-72; Ord. No. 85-26, § 2, 10-21-85)
Sec. 2-64. Disorderliness by members of the audience.

It shall be unlawful for any person in the audience at a council meeting . . .

Engage in disorderly, disruptive, disturbing, delaying or boisterous conduct, such as, but not limited to, handclapping, stomping of feet, whistling, making noise, use of profane language or obscene gestures, yelling or similar demonstrations, which conduct substantially interrupts, delays, or disturbs the peace and good order of the proceedings of the council.

Refuse to comply with a lawful order or directive of the presiding officer of the council.

The sergeant-at-arms shall have the authority to remove any such person from the council chamber and place him or her under arrest, or both.

(Code 1960, § 2227; Ord. No. 72-38, § 2, 10-16-72)

Illegal and silly

So, the behaviors we've observed during recent meetings – and during last year’s City Council meetings -- are illegal, as well as foolish and embarrassing for the City.

And what if the sources of “profane language or obscene gestures” are city employees or volunteers? Are City employees exempt from City law? The employees who represent Costa Mesa to the public should be people who obey the law and observe rules of decorum.

Fortunately, the majority of the elected officials, and the great majority of the employees and uniformed volunteers are law-abiding, courteous men and women.
The number of rude, entitled brats is small; nevertheless Costa Mesa deserves responsible behavior from all of those who would represent her to the public. 

Personal animosity is never correct, legal, or even productive in government operations.

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