LIVINGSTON — A string of speakers verbally lashed the Livingston Parish Council Thursday night, alleging that the council has failed to give the public sufficient chances to speak.
“There is a double standard as to how people are treated when they step up and speak,” Barbara Smith told the council.
Some people are “allowed to be long-winded” while others are quickly shut off, she said.
“Instead of listening to the voice of the people, some of you have tried to silence us,” Smith told the council.
She drew applause from much of the standing-room-only audience.
Several of the speakers also complained some council members discourage public comment by making disparaging comments about members of the public who do speak before the council.
“Public input is every person’s right,” said Taryn Creekbaum, who regularly addresses council meetings.
She complained that several council members have made derogatory comments about her after her remarks.
Many people are intimidated about speaking to the council, because of the council’s attitude, she said.
Henry Harris complained of being cut off a number of times when he tried to address the council.
Councilman A.C. “Buddy” Mincey said people sometimes get cut off when they get off the subject.
“I hear a lot of animosity toward this council tonight,” Mincey said, but added that the council has done a lot of good.
“There are some problems on this council,” Mincey said. “I believe those problems will be erased” by the election.
“Do we need a butt chewing?” Mincey asked rhetorically. “Yes, we deserve it,” he said in answer to his own question.
“But,” Mincey added, “I hate to see all these people get up and just down the council and forget all the things the council has done.”
Eddie Aydell, chief engineer for Fairburn and Associates engineering, was one of a minority of speakers who defended the council.
He said he has listened to speakers attack members of the council and heard those members defend themselves.
“Do unto others as you would have them to unto you,” Aydell said, also drawing applause from the audience.