Letter to Mayor Sampayan, City Council, and Media about new proposed ‘Decorum’ Ordinance

Dear Mayor, councilmembers, Media, and fellow citizens,

In regards to the ‘decorum’ ordinance, it appears to be a needed measure to strengthen existing laws, at first glance.  However, further review, leaves questions and doubts about the intent and motive of this ordinance.  Is it to bring civility to meetings alone, or is it to drum out opposing ideas and to disguise it under harmless sounding decorum ordinances?

It’s fantastic to ban profanity, booing, clapping, and other disruptive audience behavior.  This should have been done long ago.  It was the unruly mob action of the marijuana hearings a few years back, that forced the council to legalize medical marijuana, unleashing a plague on the city. Neither medical pot that affects rational thought or recreational pot should be allowed at all.  90% of the voters who supported legalizing pot have never read a book on its harms in their lives.  Then Mayor Osby Davis courageously defied the mob, not so much the rest of the council.  Had these proposed decorum rules been in force then, the marijuana mob would have never been allowed to terrorize meetings.

However, free speech was designed for a virtuous people, not rowdy and debauched hooligans.  It is not certain that these proposed rules would allow citizens to disagree and condemn marijuana and homosexuality as they not only have every right to do, but also, a duty from nature, nature’s God, and their conscience.  It can be easily suspected that these rules are simply an attempt to create laws to condemn Christians.  Just as those who hated Daniel created laws to forbid his usual activity, which was praying, and nearly got him killed for their wicked machinations, so it appears that those who disagree with my usual activities, which include publicly denouncing moral evils apathetically accepted by slumbering masses, wish to create laws to criminalize me.

These laws would have the unfortunate effect of stifling dissent, which is diametrically opposed to the spirit of the First Amendment.   These laws, which would place arbitrary and subjective restraints upon speech, activities engaged in by tyrants, should not be implemented.   The existing laws already deal with the profanity, hooting, booing, and interrupting of the audience.  They simply need to be enforced.

If this subjective ordinance is passed, the city will invite lawsuits and civil disobedience.  Thoreau, Gandhi, Ruskin, and Martin Luther King Jr., can show you what happens when those in power attempt to silence dissent.  It does not end well for the oppressor.

Please do not pass this ordinance without removing the subjective portions of it.  Banning booing, clapping, profanity, audience interruptions, whistling, stamping of feet, etc, is fine, but the other language strays into arbitrary decrees.

Thank you,


Ryan Messano


Also included, the reader may find the exchange with Ms. Quintana, the City Attorney.


Dear Ms. Quintana,

Hope this finds you well.  I noticed the proposed decorum ordinance scheduled for tomorrow, and would like to obtain the complete verbiage for the proposed change,
Any efforts to expedite this are appreciated,
Thank you kindly for your attention to this,

Good Morning Mr. Messano.


Here are the documents you requested, plus some additional ones that are referenced in an email below which may be of interest to you. The ordinances should all be available on line by going to the city of Vallejo website.

Rosenberg’s was provided to the council previously.


Additionally, here is an email that will be available to the public, which I sent to council and staff on this subject  after the agenda cutoff date”



“In response to Councilmember Dew-Costa’s request for  information on the merits, please find attached a copy of Rosenberg’s Rules of Order and a quick comparison. These were previously provided to you, albeit several months ago.


It should be noted that currently, the VMC has its own “rules of order and debate” for the transaction of the Council’s business.  Those rules place the responsibility of running the meeting, and  resolving parliamentary issues on the Mayor/chair.

I have attached our local rules to this email. Robert’s Rules are referenced therein as follows:


“ 2.02.470

At all meetings of the council, Roberts Rules of Order, as amended shall be the governing rules of order and debate, unless such are in conflict with these rules, in which case these rules shall apply and govern.”


To my knowledge, we have seldom-to-never actually used Robert’s Rules of Order because we normally just look to the rules in the Vallejo Municipal Code  to address procedural matters. The Planning Commission also has procedural rules, and they also default to Robert’s.


The ad hoc committee, made up of Mayor Sampayan and Councilmember McConnell, feel that the decision on which rules to use should be the Council’s.  Councilmember McConnell  has been a proponent of Rosenberg’s.


Rosenberg’s Robert’s
shorter longer
More informal More formal
Mayor’s (Chair’s)  role

Less active in debate or discussion; focus is on running the meeting


Mayor’s role

No such comment on the mayor’s role.

Motions require a second Motions require a second
Newer- More modern; additional  training and ordinance changes required. Established




Secondly,  the council did adopt a “Code of ethics and conduct” earlier this year. It is also attached. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, two ordinances will be considered: One is 2.02.190 and 2.02.220 which concern the ‘rules of decorum at public meetings’. While there is some overlap between the ordinances and the Code of Ethics, the  ordinances  focus on the behavior of the public and council (or commission) members at the public hearing, while the Code of Ethics is broader and covers interpersonal dealings outside of the public hearing context.


Also, the proposed amendments to 2.26 concern the role of the council liaison, a subject that has never been addressed before.


I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information. “


Thank you for your interest in this matter. Regards,


Claudia Quintana

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