Parkersburg Public Forum Limited to 2 minutes

PARKERSBURG, WV (WTAP)-- It could be described as "Two steps forward, one step back..."
as Parkersburg City Council votes to return to a single public forum in Tuesday night's meeting.

After discussion of several amendments to limit or prioritize speakers in the public forum held at City Council sessions, a resolution limiting public comments was passed.

Speakers may now address council on any topic, but are limited to two minutes apiece, during a single half hour block of time.

Those limits may be suspended by council on any night by vote...and the president of council may also invite residents within the corporation boundaries to speak first.

Not everyone is pleased with the revisions.

"The reason we're doing this is because we're under siege by liberal activists," claims Councilman Eric Barber, "and they're taking advantage of our forum because of the Media presence and their ability to come in here and criticize (inaudible) our city."

"I am very offended that not only were comments made that denigrated me and many others who care enough to be here," stated resident Jennifer Bryant, "but not anyone --not ONE of you-- spoke up to say 'that's not right."

In other business, city council revised an ordinance allowing fireworks to be set off within city limits on the Fourth of July from 9 a.m. to midnight.

The measure exempting the noise makers from the noise ordinance will now require an additional reading before becoming active.

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