The Right to Speak

The right to speak before the Revere city council every week at the beginning of the meeting has been institutionalized over the years since its inception. That right for anyone in this city to speak for 3 minutes before the city council has not been challenged and should not be challenged.

Some councillors want to do away with the absolute right for anyone to speak before every legitimately convened meeting of the council.

Councillors Arthur Guinasso and Council President Richard Penta seem to think that by changing the rules a bit about the right to speak that something beneficial will be gained for this city and its people.

They want the right to speak to be limited to speaking on matters that are coming before the council only by those who take advantage of the 3 minute free speech ritual before every meeting.

In other words, they want to do away with the right as it now stands for any resident to come before the council and for 3 minutes to have their say about anything that is bothering them or which they believe should be changed at the beginning of every council meeting.

It is likely this desire for changing the rules of the free speaking period before the council has been caused by the same people coming up every week to have a political or personal say that can sometimes be at the expense of a councilor or councilors.

After all, the right to speak before the council about whatever one wishes should not allow the councilors to be bashed by that person or persons who make a habit of doing so.

However, the essence of the discussion should not be to stop certain people from coming up all the time as this is not so important as the fact they get to express themselves freely as residents of this city for better or worse.

The council cannot presume to make rules about what ought to be spoken about anymore than the council should restrict certain people from speaking.

To that end, we urge Councillor Brian Arrigo to kill the effort to obstruct free speech by killing the bill which is now before him in committee.

Free speech is the very essence of council meetings.

What’s good for the councilors should be good for residents who wish to speak.

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