Council clamps down on rants

The City Council imposed new rules of decorum for public speakers at the thrice-weekly meetings: one minute instead of two, no addressing a specific council member (let's see them defend that in court) and no profane, excessively loud or offensive comments. It's partly a response to the n-word filled tirades in the council chambers from vendors on the Venice boardwalk and activists from the south-Central farm who picked on Jan Perry, and partly because locally elected officials generally fear and loathe the ten minutes during each meeting when state law requires that anyone — which in practice usually means regular gadflies and the angry — can get up and cut loose. There have been some great performers through the years — from Gen. Hershey Bar to Howard Watts to Leonard Shapiro — but it does get tiresome if you have to be there every day.

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