Amarillo will no longer broadcast public comment portion of City Council meetings


Before the start of the 12:00 pm session of Tuesday's City Council meeting, Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller said public comments would no longer be broadcast by the city. Miller said this decision was based on continued "personal attacks" against city officials by public speakers at the weekly City Council meeting.

"We're not going to broadcast public comment. It's not required to be broadcast and, in fact, it's not even required to take place," Miller said.

Miller has previously warned that anyone making personal attacks would be banned from speaking at future City Council meetings.

"Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or who shall become boisterous while addressing the City Council, or any person who shall refuse to abide by the orders of the presiding officer of the City Council shall forthwith be barred from further audience before the City Council," a long standing rule for City Council meetings states.

Many of the people who regularly attend and speak at the weekly meetings feel city officials are attempting to silence opposition and disscent.

“I can smell something. I’m not sure if it’s annoyance, cowardice or fear. Look at how many people are here in comparison to last week.

"There are so fewer people here than that were here last week and it’s not that they’re not passionate. That’s because we’re here at noon.

"What an effective way to suppress the opinions of your population. You shifted from a 15:00 (hours) meeting where a bunch of people showed up and now it’s 7 a.m., then lunch hour.

"You really did a good job of neutering the population of these meetings. That was a fantastic manipulation and I commend you," Nathan Smith said during Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Miller said it's irresponsible for the city to broadcast incorrect information. He also said the city is actually giving the public more opportunities to be heard.

"Frequent examples of grossly incorrect information and it's irresponsible of us to broadcast that when one of our core pillars is accurate communication.

“We're actually giving more opportunity for people to present public comment to the City Council. We've doubled it starting last week," Miller said.

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