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Looks like the City Commission is going to take up the issue of limiting citizen comments again. Here’s a flashback to August, when I posted a very unscientific poll that drew 34 votes. The majority of folks who responded (64%) thought that a 3-minute limit was reasonable. Some good feedback in the comments, too.

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5 Comments

  1. Sadly, I don’t see any other choice. With the decline in civility displayed by many commenters and the lack of respect they show, this is a way to get a handle on the issue. As the presiding officer, I will not allow the Citizen Comment portion of the Commission meetings to deteriorate into a sideshow that informs no one.

  2. I see a solution, Dona, that would allow the City Commission to appear as if they care: Run a monthly “how-to” workshop on how to participate in the Citizen Comment portion of Commission meetings with dignity and decorum.

    Perhaps you can partner with a Toastmasters club, and teach citizens on how to deliver content concisely and civilly at a Commission meeting.

    Thanks again!

  3. The people who would attend those meetings are not the problem, Chuck. The City Commission DOES care, but we sure take a lot of crap from those who think we are “highly paid” officials. Check out what we are paid – we don’t do this for the money.

  4. With all due respect, Dona, taking a lot of crap is in the job description. And I am pretty sure all of the Commissioners knew what the pay was before they signed up.

    That isn’t to say, though, that citizens should be allowed to rail on about things the City has no control over, or that they can verbally abuse the Commission. But there are important issues that people feel very passionate about, and the line between acting improperly and vocalizing legitimate, deeply held criticism of public officials can be a fine one. The right to speak freely might well be our most cherished right.

    If the Commission is going to err, it should err on the side of more free speech, not less. I trust in your ability to tell the difference, but I strongly urge the Commission to remain very sensitive to the fact that the new policy is potentially brushing up against a very, very important freedom.

  5. Once again, I’m amazed at how we focus only on the problem, and not a solution.

    We wouldn’t make good NASCAR drivers…

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