Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Get people's business back on track

| January 14, 2022 1:00 AM

Watching video from Monday’s Coeur d’Alene City Council workshop, two questions arise.

Who are these people who interrupt, shout, threaten, badger and disrupt?

And why the hell aren’t they removed if they refuse to abide by the rules of governance?

It’s probably no coincidence that longtimers didn’t have a clue who any of these visitors were. Likely, that’s because most of the visitors are newcomers — political refugees, they like to call themselves, hailing from California, Portland and Seattle primarily. They’re newcomers who combine unruly behavior with a belligerence that defies belief. Who elected them saviors of civilization?

Press reporters have also noted that this same fistful of visitors looks very much like serial meeting mashers. Are they the same pack who vent spleen at Coeur d’Alene School Board meetings, at the Kootenai County Optional Forms of Government Commission gatherings? Show up for a library protest, perhaps?

To be clear, every American has First Amendment rights. That doesn’t mean any American has a right to disrupt legally sanctioned proceedings. In fact, quite the contrary.

Elected and appointed bodies have public comment periods, and that’s when upset citizens should speak. Officials also have other ways for citizens to communicate their gripes, like phone calls, letters and email.

When audience members kept interrupting the CDA Council workshop Monday, they were depriving every other citizen the right of having their duly elected representatives work efficiently for the community's benefit. Who gave these 20 or so people — who may or may not even be Coeur d’Alene citizens — veto power over what the other 50,000 residents expect from their representatives?

It’s time for public officials to stand up for all their constituents who are not just civil, but functioning within the rules of conducting public business. Maybe it’s time to warn disrupters once, then have them removed so the people’s business can be done. Until there are consequences of some kind, the chaos these few thrive on will only continue.

Patriots? Like hell. What they’re doing is called anarchy, which is as unpatriotic as it gets.

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