Torpy at Large: How Free Speakers Killed a Plan to Quell Free Speech
“By putting yourself in a public position, you’re opening up yourself to people’s opinions and thoughts, whether you want to hear them or not,” she said.
Daniel Stewart, a 25-year resident wearing a veterans baseball cap, told the city manager — and the City Council as a whole — “to suck it up and listen.”
“When you propose something outrageous, be prepared for outrage,” he said.
Stewart labeled the measure an “Orwellian-style power grab” and urged the council to “abandon this before it becomes more toxic than it is.”
David Richardson said he was “dismayed and embarrassed” that the city he has called home for 30 years is now being ridiculed in the Atlanta media “for doing something as ill-conceived as this.”
Nathan Watts, who cannot speak, had a woman in the crowd read his statement: “I have cancer, that means I have nothing to lose,” Watts’ designate read aloud, choking up. “If you want something posted, send it to me.”
And so it went.
I can’t get into everything uttered, so I circled some words in my notes: Fools. Fascism! Beyond comprehension. Nonsense. Monumentally bad idea. Stunning. Bizarre. Snowflakes.
Resident Steve Brown reminded the council that the former city attorney sued him for libel in 2000 after Brown wrote two letters to the editor in The Citizen. Brown’s letters pointed out that the attorney’s financial involvement with a local bank, whose investors included some big local developers, might be a conflict of interest.
Brown said he spent almost $10,000 defending himself before the lawsuit was dropped.
“I was going to bankrupt my family to point out corruption,” said Brown, who a year later ran for mayor and won.
That lawsuit was also aimed at Cal Beverly, who has run The Citizen for decades. The suit was filed by the former city attorney personally, not by the city, but the lawyer had his own firm pushing the litigation.
“It sure felt like the city was suing us,” said Beverly, adding, “That’s a danger of the government coming after you. They don’t have to prevail. They can cause you to spend all kinds of money. And they have unlimited resources.”
Video can be found by clicking this image to go to the original article. People in Peachtree City may need to watch what they say on social media. The City Council is fighting back against angry comments.
After an hour of public comment, council members were quick to unbuckle themselves from this stinker.
Councilman Mike King said the plan was a bad idea, adding, “Tonight we learned a big lesson.”
Councilman Terry Ernst choked up, saying, “All you have is your integrity. I don’t care to have my integrity challenged.”
No one, however, would own up to who cooked up the idea.
After the meeting, residents had cooled off and walked up to exchange pleasantries with council members. The crowd drifted away and the council went back into executive session.
According to The Citizen, the council “voted to pay for and mount a joint legal defense with the Peachtree City Water and Sewer Authority against a city resident who had accused them of conducting an illegal meeting.”
The resident filed a suit against the city and the council wants the judge to make the resident pay its legal costs.