City Council Accused of Censorship

Mayor Robertson's decision to stop airing citizens comments on city television has some locals up in arms.
By Victoria Price

LUBBOCK, TX. -- Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson's decision to stop airing citizens' comments during City Council meetings has some locals accusing the council of censorship.  

"I'm calling this Lubbock 'Duck Dynasty'," says Burley Owen, who frequently attends and comments at council meetings. "They don't like what we're saying, so it appears its an effort to censor those who might speak in opposition of the City Council."

Last month the mayor decided to stop airing citizen comments during council meetings because speakers were taking advantage of the airtime.

"We had citizens coming up, knowing that their comments would be on air," Mayor Robertson says. "They'd make very derogatory comments about council members that were completely unfounded and untruthful."

So now, a group of devoted citizen commenters are outraged, saying this is censorship by the council.

"To just shut it out completely just makes it undocumented, like we're not even there," says Mikel Ward, a local who will be speaking out at the next council meeting about the new policy. "It tells the citizens that 'we don't care what you think'."

The mayor argues it's not censorship at all. Citizens comments are a privilege, and they'll still have that privilege...just not on tv.

"They can tell me what a terrible mayor I am, what a sorry job we're doing as a council, and we're going to sit there with a smile and say 'Thank you for being here'," says the mayor. "But we're not going to put it on Channel 2."

The mayor says that right now, this is just a temporary measure. It could only become permanent if and when another council member moves to pass it as a resolution.

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