Source: Sherman Publications

Letter to the Editor
Reader OK with later public comment

September 28, 2011

Dear Editor,

As someone who has on occasion spoken at Independence Township meetings, I find nothing wrong with moving the public comment portion of the Township Board meetings to the back of the agenda ("Comentary moved to end," Sept. 14).

If I felt I had something important to say, I would be willing to wait after other township business is conducted.

The Clarkston School Board and several neighboring municipalities have public comment at the end of their meetings. Why have the few people and newspaper writers who object to the Township’s policy not complained about the long-existing identical policy of the Clarkston School Board? Is the call for unlimited unrestricted free speech anytime anywhere regardless of how disruptive or malicious it is to be a political issue in 2012?

No less than the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that free speech can be reasonably restricted. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote in his opinion involving the 1919 case of Schenck v U.S.: “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing panic.”

Moving the public comment portion of the township meeting to the end is a reasonable action by a majority of the board – Barb Pallotta, Larry Rosso, Neil Wallace and David Lohmeier – to make the meetings more productive and less confrontational. They should be commended for their actions.

Henry S. Woloson

Independence Township