The pressing issue at the moment is shutting down of public comments during city commission meetings. This is a step backwards in our form of government. The people are being excluded from involvement in our local government. Like most things this mayor is doing, this is unprecedented in Paducah.

Public involvement, including comments, is important whether it is comfortable or not. Elected officials are public servants, not secret agents and we are dealing with issues of the utmost concern to the future of our community. Strangling the truth is not wise, not just and not safe.

The commission and mayor have been talking about "consumer" based government transparency and openness and accountability. How does reigning in free speech line up with that?

I am proud to have become a citizen of the United States this summer. Please fight to uphold our freedoms. The ability to address the commissioners is foundational to a free, accountable local government and the curtailing of it is a slinking away from the light and into the darkness, a step away from freedom toward tyranny.

Please communicate with your city leaders and tell them not to restrict public speech during commission meetings.

Valerie Arterburn


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