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A fine semantic line was crossed



There is no disputing that any organization has a right to control who speaks for it, but that doesn’t translate into a right to censor speech.

Birdie Hensley was officially admonished by her colleagues on the Electric City Council last week for doing her own research on questions she has about the city’s direction. It seems that she is free to research on behalf of herself as a city councilmember, but not on behalf of the city council. … Got that?

That comes pretty close to being a hair split by semantics.

It’s probably not couth for members of Congress to call on foreign heads of state, claiming to represent the President. But if they ask for information from their own government, remain unsatisfied with the answers and seek them elsewhere, would they be wrong?

Hensley had questions about the city’s decided use of funds, supposedly dedicated to boosting the tourism industry, for building a new pathway through town. She sought answers from outside agencies and apparently didn’t clearly draw the distinction between representing the city and asking on behalf of a city council person, herself.

With that kind of requirement for legal language wrangling, it wouldn’t be surprising if the city council decided to ask the city attorney what the definition of “is” is.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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