CALICO ROCK, AR (AP) - The Calico Rock city council has voted down a measure that would have allowed video recordings at its council meetings.
Calico rock - population 1,545. Is usually a quiet town - until the beginning of the year.
"They had gotten into about 2 minutes of discussion about the business at hand. Fischer said, "and one of the council members asked Charles if he was recording to which Charles responded to the affirmative."
Calico rock Mayor Ronnie Guthrie said things were getting out of hand. "I got on to Rich, told him to be quiet or I would have him put out and he said, "You can try!""
Tempers escalated to the point where the council voted to adjourn only a few minutes into the meeting and then later banned cameras from its meetings.
Guthrie says the two were doing more than just using a camera - but interrupting the meeting. That's something no-one can do. Guthrie says they allow times for comments from the audience but that the two publishers were interrupting the procedures and that's what prompted the ban as well has the mayor having a deputy present at council meetings.
"This is what I video with in council meetings and the two council meetings since they have been banned." Francis says, "I have been taking pictures with this very same instrument. So we don't feel that it's disruptive what so ever."
Mayor Guthrie says he understands the need to get the proceedings out to the public although several citizens have told him they won't attend meetings with a video camera present. Guthrie went on in regards to the publishers.
Fischer, "They interpret the FOIA and the intent of the FOIA such that video recording would be included as the right of the citizens access to public information."
The controversial city council meeting can be viewed on YouTube at Charles081048
Below is the Opinon section of Attorney General Dustin McDaniels reply: