Project for Open Government threatens to sue San Diego County over free speech violations

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Earlier this week, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a policy change intended to curtail hate speech and inappropriate conduct during county meetings, following a contentious session last week in which a rogue member of the public used racist and threatening language.

The three Democrat Supervisors, Nathan Fletcher, Nora Vargas and Terra Lawson-Remer, voted for the changes, while Republican Joel Anderson opposed it. Supervisor Jim Desmond missed the vote due to a pre-planned trip.

The approved changes are being strongly criticized from the community groups and movements in opposition to the County’s COVID-19 leadership, saying they are a direct attempt to silence them, threatening their right to free speech.

The main concern is about the new rule limiting public comment to one minute per person if there are more than 10 individuals wishing to comment, under the Brown Act.

Just a few days after the rule changes were approved, Attorney Cory Briggs published a letter from Project for Open Government “threatening litigation if the new public-comment rules are not immediately fixed to prevent legal violations.”

The letter reads, “the new rules prohibit members of the public from speaking toward individual items on the Consent Calendar and instead give each person just two minutes to speak to the entire Consent Calendar. This violates the Brown Act.”

Briggs tweeted out the complete letter which you can read here or below.

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