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April, 5, 2016
By Hilde Kate Lysiak
The Borough Council has made changes to the ‘Public Participation Rules.’
Last night council members voted to limit public comments to five minutes. Also – those living outside Selinsgrove would no longer be invited to council meetings.
Below are the comments from journalist Vincent Stoops, who runs the Selinsgrove Concerned Citizens Blog:
“Thank you gentlemen, as always I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to speak with and participate in my government as you cast votes on community matters.
I was fully prepared to come tonight and speak for 5mins and 30 seconds. Laying out an argument on the importance of citizen involvement in community governance, and the uniqueness of the American concept of free speech.
As well as seriously questioning the motivations behind tonight’s proposal.
That is a silly idea though. Minds are likely already made up. And it will take a great deal of courage for any of you to vote no tonight. Instead I will simply offer a few words from Cicero, a far greater man and leader than any of us will ever be —- “Freedom is participation in power” Please, be courageous, and don’t take our freedom away.”
Borough President Marvin Rudnitsky has said that no one’s freedom has been taken away.
“Everyone is given an opportunity to speak,” he said.
Stoops told the News that council members are limiting public comment because the Borough is embarrassed by the residents of Selinsgrove.
Stoops says Councilman Tim Charles “verbally attacks” Stoops for trying to report at the meetings and Charles said the public had to be kept out because it was an “embarrassment” to the community.
In an email to the Orange Street News, Councilman Charles says he never said that and also that Stoops will continue to be allowed to report the news.