OAK HARBOR, Wash. -- On Whidbey Island, inside the city of Oak Harbor, residents are riled.

I spent 30 years in the Navy, defending the country for the right to speak, free speech, said resident Paul Brewer.

Brewer and others are on the defense now because of new rules a couple city councilors are proposing.

The public can't applaud, the public can't boo, you can't wear a hat, said Shane Hoffmire, rattling off the changes being suggested.

Resident Mel Vance said he wanted to stay out of it.

I actually hate politics, I can't stand it. I get more and more involved because I can't stand what they are doing, said Vance.

Councilmember Joel Servaitus is behind the 'no hat' proposal.

The intent behind the policy was to encourage respect, civility, like you would expect in any other formal setting, said Servaitus.

Councilmember Rick Almberg wants to change how the public comment period works.

Not only do they want to move it from the beginning of the meeting to the end of the meeting, the meeting has to end at nine o'clock, said Hoffmire. It's an effort to silence the public.

I don't think that's the council's intent in any way, said Servaitus. We want to encourage free speech.

City councilmembers were scheduled to discuss the proposed changes tonight, but tabled the issue. It could possibly be discussed at the next meeting.
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