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Home / Articles / Views / In Case You Missed It /  Deputy Mayor flouts public meeting law ... accidentally
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Tuesday, February 23,2010

Deputy Mayor flouts public meeting law ... accidentally

The issue of public nudity sure has Deputy Mayor Ken Wilson’s panties in a twist. He’s so concerned about the evolution of the proposed public nudity ordinance — the one intended to punish naked pumpkin runners and nude bike riders without requiring them to register as sex offenders — that he fired off a private e-mail full of legalistic questions to fellow city council members and to city staff.

This, of course, was a no-no. When city council members chat about the public’s business, they’re required by law to do it publicly.

When Councilman Macon Cowles called him on it, Wilson said it was an accident. 

“I hit the wrong button when I sent this e-mail out,” Wilson writes. “I had intended it to only go to [Acting City Attorney] David Gehr and [Police Chief] Mark Beckner and Jane [Brautigam, city manger]. I did not intend it to go on the hotline, as it would provide a field day for Seth Brigham and others in various communities.”

Well, that certainly clears things up. Wilson intended to send his e-mail only to a few key city staffers — specifically in order to circumvent people who annoy him.

Thanks for clarifying, Mr. Wilson. But do you really think your explanation puts things in a better light?

Equality for nipples!

Back the issue of public nudity ...

As we noted above, Deputy Mayor Ken Wilson’s panties are in a twist over the issue of people getting nekkid in public. He, together with council members Suzy Ageton and George Karakehian, supported the more draconian version of the proposed public nudity ordinance, which would have banned female nipples from public view — except in the case of breastfeeding mothers — while still permitting the conspicuous display of man-titty.

The bouncing breasts of Boulder were spared this unlucky fate when City Council member Macon Cowles put forward a motion to remove the bit about female nipples from the ordinance. Council member Lisa Morzel seconded that motion, and on a five-to-three vote women’s ability to go topless like men do in the city of Boulder was protected.

But Wilson just can’t leave it alone. He wants answers to a bunch of questions that seemed designed to challenge that vote. Among the questions he asked are these:

“Does the treatment of men and women differently in a nudity ordinance violate equal protection principles under the state and federal constitutions?”

If it doesn’t, it should. Women find man-chest every bit as sexually arousing as men find the female breast. Don’t believe us? You’re either naive or sexually repressed.

“Does the treatment of persons differently based upon gender and gender variance violate Boulder’s Human Rights ordinance?”

Maybe we should see about that — but only to make certain that women aren’t relegated to second-class status when it comes to enjoying the sun on their skin. Gender variance has been used to justify all kinds of ridiculous things. It works really well for the Taliban, for example.

“Would a topless female be in violation of the state indecent exposure law, CRS 18-7-302?”

Who cares? If state law sucks when it comes to nipples, that’s no reason to imitate it.

Concerned that Wilson was trying to revive the most offensive part of this proposed ordinance, Boulder Weekly contacted Morzel and asked her whether female nipples might again find themselves in City Council’s sites.

Said Morzel: “Over my dead body.”

We knew we endorsed her and Cowles for a reason.

Oh, the burdens of serving in elected office!

When you’re an elected official, your job is to represent the public. This really cramps the style of some elected leaders.

In Longmont, for example, Mayor Brian Baum, weary of listening to the same old people at every City Council meeting, decided it might be cool to limit the public comment period at meetings to a specific length of time, thus limiting the number of people he had to listen to. The existing time limit on each speaker wasn’t good enough for him. When his notion of limiting public input at public meetings of the public body upon which he serves met with strong resistance and justified ridicule, he seemed to let it drop.

In Boulder, Seth Brigham stripped to his boxers — how completely shocking! — while speaking his mind about the above-mentioned proposed nudity ordinance. Brigham, a frequent speaker at public meetings who comes across as a bit nuts at times, was repeatedly interrupted, and much of what he managed to say was drowned out by microphone feedback caused by Deputy Mayor Ken Wilson fondling his microphone — something Wilson says was an accident. (Another one?) Then Brigham was removed from the meeting under police escort.

Is that what democracy looks like?

The First Amendment protects even those who annoy us, and no one should be held to greater account for upholding citizens’ right to free speech than elected officials.

Yes, sometimes people are annoying. But any elected leader who can’t cope with that should never have run for office in the first place.

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Great editorial! Of course, Ken is also notorious for scratching the microphone during Seth's encounter, but only owned up to it when the city staff identified him as the culprit. Pathetic!

 

 
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