Costa Mesa to Public Comments: Shut Up

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Last week, the Costa Mesa City Council revised an ordinance seeking to crack down on what Mayor Jim Righeimer said were disruptive public comments during council meetings. Drawing the most controversy was a proposal to charge anyone who continued with their remarks after being told by the presiding officer to stop them—whether because they were disrupting the meeting or repeating what previous speakers had stated—with a misdemeanor. The move was scrapped after residents pointed out such a move would've probably been unconstitutional and discouraged Righeimer's many critics. It's not the first time Costa Mesa has cracked down on public comments—in 2007, the city spent nearly half a million dollars trying to prosecute a critic of then-mayor Allan Mansoor. Can the city ever stop people from critiquing them TOO much?