CREATED Nov. 19, 2013
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Freedom of speech is at the center of debate in Fort Myers after the Fort Myers City Council discussed proposing an ordinance that would prevent people from making abusive comments during meetings.
During Monday night's swearing in of Mayor Randy Henderson's second term, both the mayor and council members said continued accusations of corruption prompted the discussion. Councilman Thomas Leonardo points directly to political activist, Anthony Thomas.
"Members of council you've witnessed this individual speak in a very negative manner using the words culture of corruption," said Leonardo during Monday's meeting.
Anthony Thomas said he believes there is a culture of corruption in Fort Myers.
"I look forward to any attempts to try to silence me or to limit the content of what I say. A lot of blood was spilled so that citizens like myself can have the opportunity to speak our peace," said Thomas.
It's that same point that has Dale from Fort Myers speaking out against such an ordinance.
"It's called the first amendment, freedom of speech. I, as a veteran gave every single person the right to voice their speech without fear of persecution."
Another viewer said, "They work for us, they represent us, so they must take our ideas."
"If they don't want to hear these comments, they need to find another line of work, plain and simple," said Robert from Fort Myers.
Eric added, "I don't agree with abusiveness but anything can be said to them. Period. That's a part of our freedom of speech.
Stephanie chimed in on Facebook and posted, "I have mixed feelings - certain cuss words or racial words but not words like "corrupt."