There has been a little less than a peep from the SF city council since they were chastised for implementing a time limit rule on public testimony during the snowgate special election meeting.
The only thing that has been said is that they will ‘address’ the issue during a work session in March.
Our media has been somewhat quiet about the issue also, except for a short editorial by AL’s editor, Patrick Lalley suggesting we have special meetings for testimony. My suggestion is that the city council just follow city ordinance. No closing of debate unless there is a 2/3 thirds vote by the entire council and allowing 5 minutes per person, per agenda item. Pretty simple.
Heck, when I spoke at the Minnehaha County Commission a few weeks back, they had no time limits, but just asked we ‘keep it brief’. We also had great interaction with the commissioners, in which we asked questions back and forth. They also listened and were split on their decision. I can hardly say that about the city council, that seems to be run by one person, Council Chair Michelle Erpenbach who is getting her marching orders from the Mayor.
There is a rumor floating around that the council is considering revisiting putting public testimony to the end of the meeting.
Where does all of this animosity towards the VOCAL public come from? I told someone the other night that I felt it stems from a certain citizen showing up each week at the council meeting (Tim Stenga) and calling the council and mayor out on their BS. I think it came to a boiling point when the mayor and Stenga had a heated exchange in the parking lot after a meeting (in which Stenga called Mike a ‘Rich Snob’). The council doesn’t want the public telling them how to do their job, and they certainly don’t want to be exposed for lying, or for what they really are, ‘Rich Snobs’.
This pushback is common from people who have something to hide. If the council and mayor were on the up and up, they could care less how many Tim Stengas showed up to the meetings.
Do I think there is rabid corruption going on in city government? Maybe a little, but I attribute it more to incompetent city employees, power hungry city directors and a city council and mayor that are controlled by their own greed and special interests. They just don’t have time for the Tim Stengas of the world. Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pudding. Over 8,000 voters asked for a special election this Spring, and not only did they refuse to hold the election, they limited our testimony. When was the last time Craig Lloyd or any other developer in town had to get over 5,000 valid signatures to receive a TIF or tax funded landscaping? Never.
Who do you think our mayor and city council works for?
As for limiting public testimony, this will eventually blow up in their faces. When government officials on any level thumb their noses at a constitutional right, free speech, they are asking for a backlash. If you think Detroit Lewis and his foot soldiers have decided to give up on this issue, you are sadly mistaken. More to come.