Thursday, October 28, 2010

Public input stifled at city council meeting

Residents often take advantage of the opportunity to make comments to elected officials at public meetings like city council and school board meetings. But at Tuesday night's city council meeting, Councilmember Larry Schroeder didn't seem to like the comments of one resident.

Michael Keenan spent his 4 minutes of public comment talking about Measure CL. Keenan does not support the school bond and shared his views with the council. But halfway through his comments, Schroeder cut him off, arguing that Measure CL is not within the city council's jurisdiction.

You can watch the action unfold at this link. Click on the October 26 video and skip ahead to about the 15 minute mark.

People have addressed the city council on all sorts of topics, from state laws on medical marijuana to human rights violations in China and the cooking shows at the Claremont library. Technically speaking, much of what people bring up during public comment is not directly under the council's purview. Schroeder never objected before.

Maybe he didn't like the particular speaker's opinions about Measure CL. Maybe he didn't like the speaker. Regardless, the city council has historically given speakers free rein during public comment to talk about whatever they want. And kudos to Mayor Linda Elderkin for standing up for that right. In the future, I hope the council continues to give speakers their 4 minutes without being rudely interrupted.

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