Open Letter To Steve Hansen
By Cecily Hastings
October 22nd, 2019
Please accept this correspondence as my strongest possible protest to the behavior of Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen at his Town Hall meeting Monday, October 21, 2019, at Kobasic’s Candies, 5324 Freeport Boulevard.
At the Town Hall, Mr. Hansen and his staff publicly intimidated and attempted to prevent a photographer for Inside Publications, Aniko Kiezel, from taking photos during the public event.
Mr. Hansen informed Ms. Kiezel that she required his “consent” to photograph the City-sponsored public forum. He stated that he was withholding consent, and that media representatives were not invited to the Town Hall. Mr. Hansen’s efforts to intimidate Ms. Kiezel were repeated by members of his City Hall staff.
Thankfully, Ms. Kiezel refused to be intimidated. She entered the meeting and took photographs without further incident. Her photos will supplement coverage of Mr. Hansen on behalf of the 80,000 homes that receive Inside Sacramento each month.
As a member of the California State Bar (inactive status), Mr. Hansen surely understands that Ms. Kiezel’s right to photograph a public forum is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. While the Town Hall was held on private property, the presence of numerous officials from multiple City departments at a City-sponsored public Town Hall, aligned under the doctrine of Designated Public Forum, allows any member of the public or media to make recordings or photographs without prior consent.
Considering the City’s goal of transparency and open government, I respectfully request that Mayor Steinberg and the City Council publicly admonish Mr. Hansen for his behavior, and that City Manager Chan instruct all City staff as to the rights of the public and media to openly take photos or make recordings in publicly designated locations and during public events.
Publisher, Inside Sacramento