Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 at 8:29 am in BART.
BART is laying down the law on people acting up in its board meetings – starting with today’s meeting at 9 a.m. in Oakland. The action comes two weeks after a protester splattered red paint on General Manager Dororthy Dugger in an act of rage over the Oscar Grant shooting.
Under new meeting decorum rules posted on BART’s Web site Friday, members of the public who want to enter the meetings are on notice that they may be subject to searches for weapons or other “dangerous, disruptive. or destructive materials.”
Banned items include guns, toy guns, explosives, laser pointers, scissors, razoers, knifies, corkscrews, knitting needles, hairspray, paint and large backpacks and suitcases that cannot be opened for security checks.
Only one person at a time will be allowed at the public speakers lectern, and public speakers cannot bring with them anything other than notes or a prepared statement. Banners are a no-no.
Except for working press and BART employees, standing is not permitted. Hissing and chanting is out.
The new rules are aimed at protecting BART board members and employees, ensuring audience members can see and hear what’s going in, and avoiding long public comment periods that have made it hard for the board to have time to deal with scheduled agenda items, according to BART officials.
Speakers will be limited to three minutes so the board can comments and not engage in a “dialogue” between the board and the public.
Did BART go too far in reacting to the rowdy, raucous meetings since an transit officer shot Grant, an unarmed and restrained passenger at the Fruitvale BART station on New Years. Or is BART just taking reasonable steps so the BART regains order at meetings.
I’ll let you know later how it goes. Personally, I’[m leaving my wine corkscrew and knitting needles at home.