The policy is parsed now to keep the public comment section focused on matters not before the board and not in process elsewhere. What is the alternative? Certainly we do not want to stop all public comment. Also, we do not want to have people speak at length in public comment only to turn around and repeat everything later that day during comment on a specific issue. So, the board must have some method of policing who talks about what, when.
To be fair to this board chair (Mary Hynes) she did not stop either Green Party candidate Audrey Clement or Audrey’s former (maybe current) campaign manager Jim Hurysz from speaking. Hynes did try to keep Hurysz on topic, and it was apropos for the day that she did it when Clement was complaining about the policy.
But might Hurysz, who knew that Clement had complained about not being able to speak, have pushed the boundaries? The “initial commenters” jumped on Hynes for squelching debate, but might they have been reacting to what may have just been a political stunt? I don't know, but I think that's worth asking, too.
Comments Policy at the Mercury
Anything libelous will be pulled. Anything that attacks a person (not a topic) too much, is disgusting, obscene, or the like, will be pulled. We like it best when people use their own names, but anonymous comments are allowed. We try to give the commenter the benefit of the doubt and are hesitant to pull comments.