The Orange County Board of Supervisors is the target of a lawsuit by the ACLU over their public comment policies. The suit was filed on behalf of William Denis Fitzgerald, an Anaheim resident, who has spoken before the Board on numerous occasions. On August 23, 2011, Fitzgerald’s public comments were interrupted by Chairman Bill Campbell to allow Supervisor Janet Nguyen to object to his disparaging statements about Vietnamese immigrants.
The suit, filed in Federal Court, asks that the County be ordered to revise its commenting policy to ensure that commenters are allowed to comment without interruption regardless of the content of their words.
Voice of OC was the first to report the story here.
I’m not really sure that the Federal Court would have jurisdiction in this matter as the public comment rules the county operates under are covered by the states open meeting law, the Brown Act. I have to wonder why the ACLU finds the interruption of Fitzgerald’s inflammatory comments to be an issue and not the cutting off of a speaker’s microphoneby Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Alvarez last year because he might say something disparaging of Mayor Miguel Pulido. If I am not mistaken, Fitzgerald actually attended the following Santa Ana Council meeting to chastise her actions.