Speaking Up

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It looks as if the City Commission is considering limiting citizens to three minutes of “open” comments at Commission meetings. I don’t have a problem with it – as Mayor Stebbins notes, you should be able to get your point across in three minutes. In addition, folks can always communicate with the Commission via mail (snail or e), or meet with Commissioners outside of the meetings. What do you think? Should comments be limited – and if so, what’s reasonable? Or should there be no limit?
Voting Has Closed:

UPDATE, Tuesday, August 8: GeeGuy has some thoughts on the issue, and discusses the Tribune’s editorial on the matter.



  1. I always hate solutions that limit everyone to correct a problem created by a few known trouble makers. If there is some legal reason why the nuts can’t be targeted with these restrictions then I guess we will all have to learn how to get to the point.

  2. This one makes me a bit uncomfortable. There are certainly a few individuals who use the commission meetings as their personal soapbox. However, there has to be some way of differentiating RELEVANT comments from THE ISSUE AT HAND from non-sequitors lobbed by a kook at the end of the meeting.

    If the city, say, is considering a complicated zoning change or traffic issue, the neighbors in that area should not be restricted to only three minutes.

    However if, say, an individual has a personal grudge against another individual and wants to use the commission meeting as an opportunity for slander, then I don’t think that even three minutes should be provided.

    Its all a matter of degree and reasonableness. Written rules can not reflect judgement; they can only make blanket proscriptions.

    I would hate to have the city make a blanket rule just to control the outbursts of two or three people in a city of 50,000.

  3. I’d like the 3-minute rule if the city staff had to adhere to same rule.

    Would spare us the blathering intended to distract from the facts and/or divert attention from competence issues.

    (If your point takes longer than 3 minutes to make, perhaps you need to start blogging)

  4. As I am on a self-imposed vacation from my blog, I would like to take this space to complement the Mayor on her decision to use her authority as chair of the council instead of implementing a blanket rule.

    Paraphrasing the “Statesman”, Plato said that written rules/laws were only necessary in the absence of a “perfect” or “ideal” ruler/leader. While I do not argue that Mayor Stebbins is a perfect ruler (sorry, Dona), I do think that human judgement is more important that an arbitrary rule when determining what information should be heard by our city council.


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