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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | EAST COUNTY / THOUSAND OAKS

Protesters Decry Speech Crackdown

September 17, 1998|ANDREW STEVEN HARRIS

Angered by Thousand Oaks Mayor Michael Markey's controversial crackdown on public comments at City Council meetings, protesters called for Markey's resignation during a demonstration in front of the Civic Arts Plaza.

The Tuesday night protest stemmed from Markey's Sept. 8 enforcement of a new policy banning what he describes as "political speeches" during the public comment portion of council meetings. Markey has defended his decision, saying the speeches--typically made by council candidates or their proxies--create a negative environment.

The protesters, which included half a dozen past and current council candidates, waved signs and American flags as they spoke out against Markey's policy. A few also made catcalls through a bullhorn at city officials as they left an evening reception.

Council candidate Chris Buckett, who organized the demonstration, said he was disappointed with Markey's council colleagues as well.

"The fact that all City Council members sat in silence, neither objecting to the mayor's abuse toward the public, nor rose in defense of the people's rights to address their government and their elected representatives, shows that none of the current council members represent the people," Buckett said. "We're making a statement and taking a stand against the abuse of our government."

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