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Wonder what reforms the commission plans RE: citizens wishing to speak ?


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This bit appears on tomorrows' work session agenda:

REPORTSFROM COMMITTEES & DEPARTMENTS:
Jason Phillips
re: Ordinance on Citizens wishing to speak at Board of Commissioners Meetings.

I hope we are not looking at another slam-bam moment.

As I look at the citizens wishing to speak policy, what I do see is a direct advantage of the incumbents in each race as candidates or their spokespersons are prohibited from speaking. Incumbents, as they sit on the board are able to apparently talk to their hearts content.

Now I don't hold out any real hope that the commission will expand the range of citizens wishing to speak tomorrow however, I don't want to pre-judge them either.

I'd rather suggest that we scrap the entire citizens' wishing to speak approach and substitute and approach that would establish formal public hearings complete with written comments.

This approach would be a real improvement if the commission also adopted a new tradition of automatically tabling issues on the agenda. Then, instead of citizens wishing to speak literally on any subject, a routine public hearing would be called after the work session in which comments from the public would be received on topics specifically germane to the 2 pm hearing.

I feel formal public hearings, which include the ability to provide additional information that would not be suitable for verbal presentation (written presentations would be welcomed) would provide for citizen input on the specific issues the county faces or would face at the following 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. meeting. Accepting written responses would also allow for entry into the record of comments from those who, due to time or other considerations, are not able to attend.

There is a long and proven value to public hearings and comments that allow citizens to provide information for the record in the decisions the public, through careful and deliberate thought and consideration, must make.

This approach, even if it led to the elimination of the 'citizens wishing to speak' section of the agenda, to me, would be an improvement in transparency and openness as without the rather noxious rules that so obviously favor incumbents.

There could even be an online collection and presentation of materials as a part of this process as personally the current system serves primarily as a vent and has no reasonable or formal application to the lawmaking function of the commission.

George Patton "Pat" Hughes

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Actually, the process sounds a lot like what I suggested. This should not come as a surprise as none of this are ideas that haven't existed for centuries; what is different is the political awareness that when specific issues become problems, there are a variety of ways to address those issues.

 

That some of those approaches enhance engagement and others tend toward rolling back freedoms are the choices. In the past the acts of the commission in this regard has been to restrict citizens wishing to speak.

 

This current proposal actually is very similar to that which I presented above. When exactly the policy will change, is not certain. I wouldn't predict anytime before the May 19 primary. But when it does, it will probably allow people to sign up to speak on specific agenda issues anytime up to the time of the meeting.

 

The major restriction will be that the subject of the citizens wishing to speak will be a specific agenda items. That will mean that talks like today's discussions that touched on the demeanor of the commissioners while listening to a 'citizen wishing to speak' or a request to have the commission endorse repeal of the IBA and Airport Authority's state charters, both of which from my point of view were line drives that drifted foul before they got to first base and landed in the stands where they were cheered by group in the cheap seats in far right field.

 

I have to say even at that I'm proud of the commission for allowing such palaver despite the fact the comments are largely a slander on the community.

 

pubby

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...The major restriction will be that the subject of the citizens wishing to speak will be a specific agenda items. That will mean that talks like today's discussions that touched on the demeanor of the commissioners while listening to a 'citizen wishing to speak' or a request to have the commission endorse repeal of the IBA and Airport Authority's state charters, both of which from my point of view were line drives that drifted foul before they got to first base and landed in the stands where they were cheered by group in the cheap seats in far right field...

 

 

pubby

As usual I would have written this report a little differently than you. I would have concluded with... And landed in the stands where they were cheered by a group of voters who mostly live in the Post I wish to represent".

 

If you noticed I did not clap... I am totally confused as too when it is appropriate to clap, cheer or stand during these meetings.

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