On Thursday, May 4, 2023, St. George city council held their monthly public meeting where the public has had the opportunity to articulate and present their public comments to the council, mayor, and the people.
(Originally posted on Iron County News at www.ironcountynews.org/public-stands-up-to-tyranny-in-st-george-city-utah)
After announcing to the listeners of the Andy Griffin show on Thursday morning that the public comment portion of the meeting will be eliminated from the meetings, the mayor read the agenda item on Thursday at the meeting that evening, as follows:
“In an effort to maintain efficiency in conducting the city’s business, we are changing how public input will be taken. Citizens are free to submit written comments at any time, on any subject, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or in person to the city recorder here at City Hall 175 East 200 North. All comments received between Friday at noon through the following Friday by noon, will be posted on that Friday to the city’s web page and the Utah public notice website by 3:00 p.m. and will be available for the council, staff, and the public to review. Because this public input will not be part of any council meeting agenda or packet, the comments will no longer be limited as they were before. However, the city will retain the right to remove threatening, vulgar, obscene, or profane language from the submitted comments prior to posting. Public hearings for specific agenda items will be conducted as before and as required by law.” St. George City Council Agenda Item May 4, 2023
During this agenda item, the majority of the residents held up 8 ½ x 11” signs on their chest which read, “Mayor Randal, it’s un-American to not let us speak.”
Prior to the meeting, officers walked around, observing the signs, and instructed the public that they would be kicked out of the meeting if the signs were held up. The public was aware but knew the power in standing up to this unconstitutional rule en mass. The mayor ended this particular portion of the meeting by saying:
“We ask for no signs to be in here so please take them down and if you don’t want to take them down, we’ll have the police come around and gather them up. Kyle, go ahead.”
Officers proceed to try to gather the signs from the people in attendance, but most would not comply and were left alone.
After the mayor’s statement was read and the police called to take away signs, councilwoman, Michelle Tanner, asked to make a comment and said:
“I just want it matter of public record that I oppose the decision to take away the oral public comment. I feel obligated as an elected representative and while I can certainly understand the reasons behind it and I certainly don’t fault anyone for some of those reasons, but I think we have to default to what holds us most accountable and I do agree that, obviously, you can always email us, you can call us, but there is a difference being able to actually come to a public meeting and speak in person and make it a matter of public record. And so that’s something that I really hope, in the future, that we can bring back and I just want that to be publicly known.” Public Record Statement of Councilwoman, Michelle Tanner, at St. George City Council meeting held Thursday May 4, 2023
The public responded by applauding and cheering loudly and the mayor said they’d talk about it in the future.
A commenter can be heard from the back saying “What are you afraid of?” After that, Mayor Randal responded, “That’s the last comment! If there are any more comments, clapping, yelling out loud, we’re going to adjourn this meeting until the police clear you all out!”
Another commenter can be heard saying, “Tyranny!” After which the mayor announced the meeting would be in recess and asked officer Whitehead for assistance. Another commenter can be heard stating, “you are something” to which mayor Randal replied, “yep, I am.”
After a few moments of silence, a man in attendance stood up and read the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States
The people then cheered and clapped. The mayor then said, “chief,” assuming to summon the chief of police again (Clear indication of collusion). A woman in the audience then stood up and read the oath of office that each councilmember, officer, and the mayor presumably all took. It is a pledge to the constitution and to “we the people” to maintain our rights:
“I____, having been elected and appointed to the office of _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Utah, and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.” Oath of Office
After reading the oath, the commenter asked:
“Did each one of you sign this? Is it on record with the county clerk? Because, if you did, you’re trampling our rights! And every officer should have signed one also!”
A man then asked councilmember Jimmy Hughes (who is up for re-election this year), “Jimmy, where are you on this?” The same women mentioned that every one of them has a say in this and Jimmy responded, “We’re not voting on this” (It’s pretty clear the mayor made this decision and 4 of the 5 council members agree with silencing the people). The same woman said, “We need to know where you stand” and mentioned that they took a pledge to the constitution and swore to represent us. Another audience member asked the same question from earlier, “What are you afraid of Michelle?” There was mention of taking a stand and the audience cheered “Recall her” several times as the mayor walked out of the room.
Officer Whitehead then announced to the public that it’s a crime to disrupt a public meeting. I think it’s clear to those who study the constitution and history that the wrongdoing does not lie with the people who are appropriately standing up for their rights. Thankfully, the officers did respect the people’s rights to hold up the signs, even though they asked for them. We must know and insist on our rights.
Once the mayor left, the rest of the council seemed unsure of what to do and ended up leaving as well.
The city chose to redact the next, roughly, 6 minutes of their video feed. During this time, there was robust discussion amongst the people. The audio portion of the meeting was also redacted when a citizen spoke into the microphone for a few seconds after asking an officer if she could speak. It was right after this when the council came back into the room and resumed the meeting as if nothing had happened. The remainder of the meeting resumed, and the agenda items were largely not addressed by the people.
The takeaways, in regard to liberty and the Constitution, from this situation:
- The cancellation of public comment is a clear threat to free speech of the people. The written comments will not be read in public meetings, but only posted on the city’s website.
- The cancellation is also a clear violation of the council not operating with the consent of the governed, disconnects them from their constituents, and insulates them from criticism and being held accountable.
- One of the tactics of tyranny and totalitarianism is to silence the voices of opposition. This appears to be happening here. Liberty requires free speech, open dialogue, and transparency.
- The people stood up to the tyranny and were able to stand their ground for being able to hold up signs and exposed the council and mayor of their true colors in regards to silencing the people.
- The room at the meeting was filled and there was passion and concern for the liberties of the people. “We the people” are awake and aware of these tyrannical actions.
- Standing up and reading from the constitution and the oath of office was a brilliant “protest’ and, again, exposed the council for their dereliction of duties.
- The only opposing voice in this policy change was Michelle Tanner. It is clear where the other 4 council members stand. This is an important piece of information for the people since three seats will open up in November.
- “We the people” will continue to stand up to tyranny and not back down or be silenced. Those who are not honoring their oath will continue to be exposed.
Make sure you check out our show with Michelle Tanner- the only council member of the people, by the people, for the people.