That’s what I am calling the proposed ordinance Tuesday Night (Item#9 – 1st Reading) to change the order of the meeting agenda so public input is at the end of the meeting. The irony of it is that Public Input became a ruckus because of the lack of respect and decorum Huether and Rolfing showed to the commenters. Often laughing at, heckling, or making cry baby speeches at the people who would come up and speak truth to power. They were incredibly disrespectful and arrogant, than they wondered why someone would call them an SOB? Go figure.
They are trying to change the rules because of ONE person’s actions. But in reality, that is just an excuse they are using. The city has been embarrassed time and time again because of the input from citizens at the council meetings;
â€¢ Walmart on 85th
â€¢ Copper Lounge Collapse
â€¢ Oak View neighborhood
â€¢ Events Center Siding
â€¢ Administration building
â€¢ Downtown noise ordinance
â€¢ Poorly negotiated RR redevelopment deal
. . . and the list goes on.
This isn’t about one person’s potty mouth or a disenfranchised veteran, this is about stopping public commenters from pointing out important issues in our city. Some of the best solutions to problems and awareness comes from the people who come and bring public input. That is why the former mayor and certain councilors hated it so much.
I asked Councilor Neitzert in a text today how he would vote on the first reading (he seems to be the deciding vote) he gave me a line about coming up with a ‘pros and cons’ list. I told him it would be hypocritical of him to support this, especially since he used public input many times as a citizen and ran on transparency in government. Pushing citizens to the back of the line is certainly NOT a PRO to open and transparent government. I’m just hoping Greg sees the light by the time Tuesday rolls around. Besides, transparency was the #1 issue in this last election. Moving public input to the end of the meeting wreaks of closed government.
Either way, I will remind the ENTIRE council once again why this would be a very BAD idea to change.
â€¢ It has worked well for 16 years. I remember when Munson was mayor there were several nights when public input got a little heated. Dave wasn’t shy, he dropped the gavel and told you to sit down. That is what a GOOD leader/chair does, they take control of the meeting and situation. You don’t change the rules for the majority because a tiny minority has a potty mouth. TenHaken needs to be a leader and instead of supporting this (I hear he does) he needs to take control of the meetings. Maybe before Tuesday he can get some tips from Munson on that.
â€¢ The family friendly argument is a joke. I didn’t know a government meeting was like an episode of the Brady Bunch. Besides, let’s talk family friendly. Was it family friendly to approve going into partnership with a developer who’s contractor caused the death of a worker? Is that what you mean by family friendly? I am way more offended by that than if a person says SOB at a meeting.
â€¢ What the heck has Councilor Marshall Selberg done in 2 years? Besides voting on developments that benefit his employer without recusing himself (conflict of interest) he has contributed NO legislation. So his first order of business is to push through anti-dissent legislation? Wow! He really has NO CLUE about public service.
â€¢ As I mentioned above, half the problem with public input solved itself when Mike and Rex left.
â€¢ I have also argued that this will actually make the meetings longer, because people will show up for public input and start to comment on all the agenda items. If you have 4-5 people from the public speaking for 4-5 minutes on every agenda item, the meetings could get very long. And once you get to public input, they could let you have it again about the decisions that were made that night. Do you really want to end your meetings that way?
Finally I will say what I have said to the council a thousand times already – the citizens own this government, not the banksters and developers and mega-plex hospitals. The public should have the first opportunity to speak at meetings and the rest of them, who are essentially benefitting from the city either financially or otherwise can wait. Besides, like standing in a long line at the courthouse to get your license plates, waiting until the end of the meeting for public input is another form of taxation. Everyone else in the room (councilors, mayor, directors, city employees, bar owners, developers, etc) are getting paid to be there, we are not, but we are funding the operation that’s why we get to go first.
Public input is NOT broken, it just needs to be handled better by the chair, someone who is willing to gavel and put people in their place when they use potty mouth or ramble about what happened to them in 1973.
Leave it as is!
CONTACT the council and mayor’s office and tell them how you feel.
I know that Selberg, Kiley and TenHaken support this. I think that Erickson and Soehl MAY support this. Brekke, Starr and Stehly DO NOT. So far Neitzert is undecided.