Editorial: Increased input at meetings is step in right direction

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Anything the city can do to increase opportunities for public input on community issues is a step in the right direction.

The council’s renewed effort to allow more time earlier in a meeting for public discussion and easier access to meetings is also a feather in their collective cap, which we applaud.

There is a community perception of backroom discussions, which people acknowledge is an unacceptable way to conduct city business, and in reality, happens infrequently, if at all.

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Still, one way to dissipate the myth is to make it easy for anyone to make relevant comments on issues affecting them. It is appropriate for the city to limit discussion to five minutes to ensure everyone at a meeting who wishes to speak has the chance.

Moving the location of pre-agenda meetings &045; the working meetings of the council &045; makes perfect sense. Such a move indicates that council members and city officials are interested in what everyone has to say and should be heard. The message being sent is powerful &045; the city wants to hear from its residents.

As this discussion continues, we hope the council will also revisit televised broadcasts. Barriers to the immediate implementation of such broadcasts include asbestos removal and cost to install the proper equipment, but remains the best way to squelch rumors, avoid innuendo and misinformation.

We commend the council for reopening the discussion of access and increased opportunity for public input, and ask them to take it a step further by removing the barriers to televised broadcasts in the near future.