A proposed resolution to improve decorum and civility at meetings of the Westminster City Council on Wednesday evening was continued to the next meeting of that panel.
The resolution, requested by Councilman Tai Do, was originally aimed at the conduct of members of the audience, but in discussion, council members talked about whether it should apply not just to those speaking in the oral communications segment of the meeting.
Do said he was acting in response to accusations made by members of the public that led to harassment, including the slashing of tires. “This is a set of rules for the public,” he said.
The heated political atmosphere at council meetings has led to comments from speakers accusing some city leaders – including those on the council – of being communists or supporting communists or committing crimes.
Behind much of the uproar at meetings are recall campaigns aimed at all five members of the council.
The proposed resolution would be a policy lending some specificity to an existing part of the municipal code, which states: “Any person in the audience who, while in attendance in any council meeting, uses profane language or language tending to bring the council or any of its member, or any official of the city into contempt, or any person who persistently interrupts the proceedings of the council, or refuses to be seated or keep quiet when ordered to do so by the presiding officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
But Councilman Sergio Contreras asked if the resolution would apply to city council members as well. “It’s kind of hypocritical if it doesn’t,” he said.
After some further discussion, Councilman Chi Charlie Nguyen said “It seems that we have come to a consensus that this would apply to the council.”
Do wanted separate codes for the public and the council. City Manager Eddie Manfro argued that such a code could apply to the public and the council.
City Attorney Richard Jones said that decisions about whether actions or speech were disruptive were up to the mayor.
Do also expressed concern that the resolution might be too restrictive and so it was finally decided that the city attorney and city clerk consult and bring back a revised resolution to the Oct. 23 meeting.