Time Limits

Last night the City Commission passed Resolution 9364, limiting public comment at Commission meetings. I didn't get out of my meeting until after 7:00, so I missed Dave Gliko's legal analysis. I don't really have a problem limiting comments that are vulgar or profane; I struggle a bit more with impertinent.

When I saw the new Resolution in action, though, I have to confess that I did not enjoy the show. First, Mayor Stebbins said she would limit speech which is "combative, confrontational or rude." Wait a minute? We don't have the right to confront our elected officials?

Then it got worse. I listened to very passionate opponents of the coal plant making cogent remarks only to have those remarks cut off by a little beep, beep, beep, in the middle. Then, like a child scrubbing for pennies on the street, "can I have more time?" "One more minute," returned the Mayor's disembodied voice.

Of course, these limits don't apply to public hearings. The problem arises when the City puts big ticket issues into the Consent Agenda or the Report section of the meeting. Then interested members of the public don't have the right to participate. This right is further denigrated when items are left off the Agenda completely. So interested citizens are left begging for time to speak.

It's a vexing issue. Let's see how it plays out.

By the way, I saw most of SME's expert. I hope to write more tonight.


Anonymous said...

I was a good example of what the city has been and is up to with this coal plant railroad job! The public be damned and full speed ahead.....

Anonymous said...

Well, I see our new Mayor has now gone completely 'establishment.' I wonder what she would have said if Mayor Gray had tried to implement limitations on the public's ability to participate because commenters were giving him "crap?"

She ran on a platform of independence, but a year later she's just another lapdog for John Lawton. You used to spend time on all the 'blogs, Mayor, but now we only seem to see your comments on David's site, where you're never criticized.

Gee Guy has raised numerous points in a rational and respectful manner. Where are the answers? He has indicated that he is having trouble getting information from YOUR staff. Why don't you help him? What don't any of you want the public to know? Why don't you ever ask any hard questions?

Now you're going to give all the information to the Tribune? Pshaw! Because you know they'll whitewash the whole damn thing.