Mayor to Speak at Free Speech Day Event
So, I had planned to stick to my Into the Weeds posts for awhile, but yesterday morning’s Chico Enterprise-Record article on Free Speech Day compelled me to switch gears temporarily.
Here’s part of the article:
A spokesman for the group says Mayor Scott Gruendl, Police Chief Kirk Trostle, Melissa Daugherty from the News & Review, and Sue Hilderbrand from KZFR will be speaking at the event.
Under other circumstances, I might have laughed about the Mayor speaking at that event; however, he has made such a mockery of free speech rights in recent months that the irony did not elicit so much as a smirk.
As you may know, we were unable to attend the October 15 Council meeting. Rather than remaining silent about our absence, the Mayor felt obligated to comment on it after the conclusion of Business from the Floor. A true defender of free speech, this guy is.
Here’s what he said (watch the video clip):
I forgot to honor the, for the nice business from the floor we had tonight, too, as well, so it’s a break. So I appreciate that for the folks listening at home. Thank you for giving us the break as well. Um [giggle] I mean that in a sincere way I mean, it’s been a long time since we haven’t had to address such serious concerns so um.. Not that we don’t address serious concerns on a regular basis. I’m really digging myself a hole, so with that um [giggle] so with that we are adjourned…
But wait, there’s more!
Here is the full text of the Mayor’s September 3 press release addressing free speech and access to public records:
Press Release from the Mayor (12:45 PM, 9/3/13)
CHICO MAYOR RESPONDS TO CRITICISM OF CITY LEADERSHIP
Chico faces extraordinary times and our success lies in the strength of our citizens. Seeking truth and civic involvement are critical, yet some utilize protections of democracy in a selfish and counterproductive way. City hall has seen an unprecedented number of public information requests with many from the same party so it appears the intent is not to discover truthful information, but to punish those implementing measures necessary to keep our city solvent and serving the public.
Many requests relate to meeting minutes not yet completed. When an information request is received, the same officials responsible for the minutes are legally mandated to respond to the request, but are not mandated to produce the minutes. One can see how certain members of the public, while appearing to appropriately use a powerful democratic tool of democracy, may actually have harmful intent, that becomes evident when the very information sought is available on the Internet immediately for all to see and hear at their own desire.
I am a vanguard of the public’s trust, so it is difficult for me to make the claim that the very systems that are available to enhance this trust appear to be abused by some. My intent is not to limit the voice of our community or access to government, but when these sacred instruments appear to be used as tools of abuse, my oath of office requires action.
City Council meetings are used by some to attack the city’s administration. Some have grievances due to separation from city employment and others falsely believe that the city’s financial calamity was caused by the very people hired to fix it. The truth is that this administration has taken action that no predecessor would and the total salary cost is significantly less than past executives whose failures resulted in the extraordinarily difficult times we experience today.
As Mayor, let me be perfectly clear, speech is a protected freedom, but when speech is used to bring physical and emotional harm, it is an abuse of freedom’s sanctity and a disservice to all that have given to protect it. Just because speech is a protected freedom, does not make what is said right. Civility, character, and intent define a discussion in a way that can be meaningful debate. Hate, vitriol, and racism define a discussion that can be criminal.
What defines a Chicoan? Must one be born here, lived here long, or own property? We are defined by civic involvement, willingness to protect and enhance our community, and desire for what is best for this special place. There is no other place like Chico and most want this city to prosper to its full potential. I cannot be the judge of what truly defines a Chicoan, but I do judge those that hide behind the good work of our great citizens throughout history for the purpose of discrimination and breeding hate.
What defines who is right or wrong? Who determines whether the financial distress of the city was caused by present or past employees? Who makes the choices necessary to assure local government remains a viable servant of the public? The duly elected representatives of the people, sworn to an oath to protect the public, in conjunction with all community members, do. It pains me greatly that certain citizens that I have come to know and trust, do not trust me. What these very persons believe to be the truth is actually a campaign of misinformation that is merely selfserving and their efforts are causing more harm than good and this harm appears to be with intent.
What is the truth? The truth is found in the 2012-2013 Butte County Grand Jury Report. The truth is in video posted to the city’s website. The truth is in the information collected and analyzed by expert third parties that will report their findings in the coming months. The truth is in very detailed minutes that were initiated by the City Clerk responsible for access to information, that some citizens appear to be using to paralyze our city, which is as great a threat to Chico’s long term success as is the financial mess these individuals deny exists.
But there’s even more…
We have written several previous posts about his abuse of the power of his office to attempt to quash dissenting opinions. For instance, he blew his cool at the September 3 Council meeting and interrupted me mid-sentence. Here is another post that contains some excerpts from a rant on the Mayor Scott Gruendl official Facebook page. If you haven’t read the full rant, it is quite revealing. You can find it here.
And last, but certainly not least, there are the threats the Mayor has made in order to attempt to silence us.
Just my opinion, but surely the Free Speech Day event deserves speakers who are true believers. The Mayor only believes conditionally.
We thank you for your continued readership and welcome any comments or questions.
Remember: Truth Matters, Chico!
Photo credit: chicoer.com