Clayton County residents want end to public comment "blackouts" - CBS46 News

Clayton County residents want end to public comment "blackouts"

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

A large group of Clayton County residents showed up to a commission meeting dressed in black to symbolize what they say are blackouts of the county's public access channel.

They're calling it an attempt to silence views that oppose decisions made by commissioners. The demonstration at Tuesday's meeting is in response to the decision to interrupt the live broadcasting of public comments on the county's public access channel. The group says they demand more transparency.

Commissioner Michael Edmondson is behind the new measure to censor public comment, but when CBS46 tried to ask him why, he made a quick exit. 

Chairman Jeffrey Turner was more accommodating. He says he was outnumbered on the new blackout policy. CBS46 asked him to respond to the claim that commissioners are afraid of dissenting opinions from the public.

"Yes, the board has made some controversial decisions when it comes to sensitive issues and the public has let us know that, so that could be a possible reason," said Turner. "I can't speak for them. They have to speak for themselves."

It's a policy that affects public comment on every issue, including when a police officer wanted to speak against the new health insurance rate increases for every county employee.

Several speakers quoted a previous public statement from commissioner Edmondson that he wants to discourage people from signing up for public comment just so they can be on television. It looks like this policy will continue until a commissioner changes their mind or a new one with a different opinion gets elected.

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