Trolls disrupting public meetings at Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Donovan Reeves on
Trolls are disrupting local public meetings.

In Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Everett, and Shoreline, unknown persons have logged in to the online public comment section of city council meetings and used the opportunity to spew what is being described as "hate-filled, racist, oppressive speech."

All the cities posted similar statements.

This was Shoreline's comment: 

We were recently targeted as well. Before the meeting, the City Clerk was aware of recent similar incidents occurring at City of Kenmore and King County meetings and was on the alert for a possible disruption. 

While the City recognizes that freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our democracy and respects diverse opinions, a council meeting is not an open public forum. 

We will not tolerate the use of public meetings for hateful, racist, and oppressive comments that are disruptive to the conduct of city business. Upon hearing the comments, the Mayor promptly asked the City Clerk to mute the individual and the Clerk immediately removed their permission to talk in the online platform.

Since people can create any screen name they want, it is hard to know ahead of time who the people are who are providing public comment. 

The best we can do is be prepared for the unexpected. We will continue to be vigilant during meetings and step in immediately upon hearing hateful, racists, disruptive language.

Interestingly, Snohomish county is not experiencing the same attacks. Edmonds had an attack in 2020 during public interviews of candidates for police chief, but nothing recent. Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood have not experienced recent attacks.

--Diane Hettrick


Anonymous,  November 18, 2023 at 7:18 AM  

cowards and trouble makers. what's their use?

Anonymous,  November 18, 2023 at 11:55 AM  

What is deemed an "attack" ? Who decides this? As long as it wasnt insighting violence or promoting illegal acts.But,PUBLIC Official is public&able to be criticized. to do as long it is isnt yhrestening speech. People can be filled with hate sometimes&democrats are using this as a way to censor speech they dont like or that makes them feel uncomfortable..Thats not right!

Anonymous,  November 18, 2023 at 8:04 PM  

This is old news however when it happened to Kenmore then following meeting they decided to suspense comments of the zoom until they could figure out a fix. Unfortunately I felt they let the trolls win instead of staying the course.

Anonymous,  November 19, 2023 at 9:19 AM  

With regards to the second comment: I think you missed the part of the article that stated that the meetings are not open forums. I also don't seem to recall that government meetings ever allowed random off-topic comments, least of all hate speech.

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