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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Free Speech Under Fire in Haywood County

Haywood County Commissioners deliberate guidelines that would limit the ability of Haywood County citizens to address them
Photo by Bobby Coggins

Members of the 9-12 Project in Haywood County put out an alert that their Freedom of Speech was at risk early Monday morning and I decided to go be a witness to their struggle at the Haywood County Commissioners meeting that evening.

Here is an embed of the proposed guidelines so you can make your own judgement whether or not the guidelines were restrictive of Free Speech. I certainly believe that they were, and were it not for the people who showed up at the meeting and made sure their voices were heard, the citizens of Haywood County would now be a little bit less free.

HaywwodSpeechGudelinesTIFFdocument 001

Here are a couple of videos I made from footage I took during my visit to the Haywood County Commissioners meeting. I was discouraged, but allowed, to video upon reassurance that I would cause no disturbance of the proceedings. I had a small Kodak Zi6, which is the size of a blackberry, so I'm sure it was non-threatening. I was told that the commissioners already recorded their meetings.

Part One

Part Two


As far as I can tell, it was a victory for the people of Haywood County. They showed up in force, and stood down their County Commissioners. They will have to keep an close eye on them and make sure that these changes to the document are as advertised during the meeting. 

I discovered that I have a counterpart in Haywood County, a watchdog who keeps an eye on the proceeding of local government. His website is called Haywood County Toe Prints, and he publishes notes and commentary of the Haywood County Commissioner meetings in easily downloadable PDF format. At the end of this particular meeting, he was the lone citizen of Haywood County monitoring the proceedings who wasn't a county employee. He was there long after the reporter from The Mountaineer had left. (She left at the second break). 

The Haywood County 9-12 Project have a social network. Please consider joining their network if you live nearby, or even if you don't...their website has information that may be useful to you.

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