Tucson council wrestles with 'act of civility' rule

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- In the name of civility, Mayor Bob Walkup was trying to cut out alleged offensive speech during the call to the audience.

The "act of civility" rule may have broken the First Amendment rights of speakers.

The rules for the call to the audience were on the agenda and were up for discussion.

Yes the rule is still in place as it stands from last weeks city council meeting.

But that didn't stop audience members from speaking their minds on the issue.

Item 14 on the agenda, the rules and regulation for orderly conduct during call to the audience.

Councilman Steve Kozachik thought the words were too broad and wanted them changed.

"I took a stab at just rewriting our rule and it is simply for discussion purposes and we can tear it.  And I have given one to Mike Rankin, he has seen it," said Councilman Steve Kozachik.

But it seems the words in Tucson's rules are no different than other cities and towns in this state.

"And I can tell you that our rule is very consistent in several cases identical to rules in other Arizona cities and towns," said city attorney Rankin.

Roy Warden who was escorted out of last weeks meeting for breaking the conduct rule disagrees. He now plans to take action.

"Eventually we will be before a judge.  He's going to accept jurisdiction and he's going to render an opinion whether that policy passes constitutional muster or not," said Warden.

Even though the rules were kept the same, audience members gave the mayor and council feedback about the rules during the call to the audience.

"Can you imagine how uncivil it is for you guys to be making restrictions on what I can say up here, the comments I was going to make last week I am going to complete tonight or try to complete," said resident John Kromko.

 

However Mayor Bob Walkup would have the last word on the issue.

"I'm giving you a fair warning that I consider that to be in violation of our rules stick to our rules and with that and that's the end of our call to the audience," said Mayor Bob Walkup.