Over 75 people attended a Gig Harbor Planning Commission meeting to discuss various proposed changes to waterfront zoning. People wishing to speak were given a three-minute limit. After the first person spoke, several in the audience clapped. Many clapped after the second person spoke, too. The audience clapped when the third person spoke, at which point a city staff member announced she would call the police and have anyone who continued to disrupt the proceedings escorted out of the meeting.
“What?” said some. She repeated her threat and said we all knew there was to be no clapping. Some people said they’d never been to a meeting and had no idea clapping was not allowed. From then on, the audience did not clap.
I am unsure why such an intimidation tactic was used for a meeting that was moving along nicely with no acrimony or other inappropriate displays. If she wanted no clapping, she could have just told us that clapping was not appropriate. Easily handled with no ruffled feathers. A courteous reminder would have sufficed.