It's the video that's become all the rage among conservatives over the last week. It shows a woman, labeled a "rowdy Tea Pariter," breaking out into an anti-bureaucrat song at an Oakland, CA, city meeting. And then, before she finishes, her mic is cut. It has all the elements of a viral video, not only because the woman nails it with a great voice, but also considering the apparent slight against her message.
But is it really that simple? Was her mic really cut out of spite? Not according to what we found.
First, check out the video, which started taking off last Tuesday and has been copied and reposted in numerous forms. It shows the woman take the podium, her mic being shut off before she's done singing her protest, and the crowd erupting in support of her song:
The description identifies the woman as Celeste Paradise who's fighting against a city initiative called Plan Bay Area (which critics are labeling as having Agenda 21-like elements). It claims her mic was "abruptly cut off":
Rowdy Tea Partier at Oakland meeting! Celeste Paradise uses her 1 minute of public comment time to sing a protest song in frustration at the "Plan Bay Area" meeting in Oakland California before her microphone was abruptly cut off.
Plan Bay Area is a $280 billion plan styled after the United Nations "Agenda 21? green agenda of their version of global "sustainability" principles in 1992, and signed by presidents Bush (42) and Bill Clinton as the direction for America to follow. A coalition of liberal and conservatives formed to fight the plan for the 9 counties in the SF Bay Area. The plan was approved after a two year battle.
The video seems simple enough. There's no denying Paradise's mic was cut. And because of that, numerous people sympathetic to her and her cause have posted it and ran with that mantra, including one headline that continues to be replicated: "OAKLAND TEA PARTY PROTESTER Sings the Truth - Gets Her Mic Shut Off."
But is there more to the story? Was the woman's mic shut off not because of her content but for another reason?
Record of a meeting regarding the Plan Bay Area project around August 7 (when the above video was posted) are non-existent. There was no meeting on that day or in the days running up to it. So TheBlaze decided to expand the search to any meetings that may have been held recently at the Marriott Oakland City Center, where the podium in the video indicates it was held.
That proved successful. According to the Bay area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission's website, which helps oversee the Plan Bay Area project, there was a meeting held at the Oakland Marriott on July 18. And sure enough, the official transcript does include the singing protest from Paradise.
Here's how the official transcript relays it:
A transcript of Celeste Paradise's singing protest. (Source: Metropolitan Transportation Commission)
But the transcript also shows another very important quote given much earlier in the meeting. On pages nine and 10, Supervisor Amy Rein Worth, the chairperson, lays out the rules for public comment. As he's describing how citizens can have their voices heard in an orderly manner, she makes it clear that due to the sheer volume, comments will be limited to one minute for each person.
"So if I ask -- may I -- I'd like to ask everyone to please state your name as you begin to speak," Worth says. "Due to the large number of people who would like to speak - and we would like to be able to accommodate every individual who's come here tonight to participate in the meeting -- we are limiting speaking time to one minute."
And if you watch the video again, you'll see that Paradise's mic is cut right at that one-minute mark from when she starts speaking. In fact, you may even be able to hear a faint beeping in the background noting her time has expired:
And for what it's worth, a public Facebook page appearing to belong to Paradise has not touted (as of publication time) the "mic cut" angle. Could it be that even she didn't feel she was wronged?
So was Celeste Paradise's mic cut? Yes. Was it cut because of the supervisors hated her content? Well, maybe they did. But the rules were clear. And her mic was shut off after she broke them.