The Tuesday, Oct. 3 Greensboro City Council meeting was definitely disrupted.
There is no way the City Council could have conducted business with a group of about 10 members and supporters of the Working-class and Houseless Organizing Alliance (WHOA) chanting, “Whose house. Our house.”
The chanters were removed from the meeting without much incident and, according to the policy approved by the City Council in July, they will be banned from attending a City Council meeting in person for three months.
About the incident, Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “What they did was predictable.”
At the Sept. 5 City Council meeting, Vaughan had Luis Medina, a self-identified member of WHOA, removed from the meeting for violently slapping the microphone at the end of his three minutes at the podium. Vaughan said she expected some reaction to banning Medina at the Oct. 3 meeting
Vaughan said, “If those are the games they want to play, they have to play by our rules.”
The reason the council approved the policy of banning people for three months who were removed from the meeting for being disruptive was primarily because of the continued behavior of members of WHOA at televised council meetings. After having had their three minutes of facetime at the podium, members of WHOA would often disrupt the meeting and be asked to leave, but they could come back the next month and pull the same stunt.
Vaughan said that all of those who disrupted the meeting would probably not be banned for three months because some ran away before security could get their names. However, some, such as Billy Belcher, who started the chanting, are well known because they speak regularly at City Council meetings and will be banned for three months.
Vaughan said that the City Council considered a policy where the period of time someone would be banned would escalate, but decided to stick with three months and see how that worked. Vaughan also noted that they were banned from attending the meetings but not banned from participating in the meetings because they could still participate via Zoom.
The City Council has come a long way since 2017, when a bunch of women in pink hats ran the council off the dais by singing during a meeting. After the members of the City Council scurried into the back room to hide behind locked doors and a phalanx of armed police officers, the women took over the council dais and continued to sing.
No one was arrested or banned from future meetings after that disruption because the women in pink hats left when the police officers finally asked them to leave.