by Jim Spencer
The recent Town Council action changing public comments that are not on the agenda from the beginning of the meeting to the end of the meeting was a move in the right direction. I voted for it.
Yes, there were teeth gnashing and sniping by a small group of special interest folks that come to every council meeting to make comments on anything and everything. Their outcry would make you think they were being stripped of their constitutional rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
After three and a half years on the Town Council, I have observed that almost all the citizens who attend our meetings have some special interest. They are either anti-growth or pro-growth, or want their road fixed, or are running for council, in the next election, or want to save the ducks or get rid of the ducks and some are there to support or defeat an issue on the council's agenda.
The fact is the council was elected by the majority of voters to do the people's business. That vast majority does not attend Council meetings, but rather depends on the Council, which they elected, to make decision for them. That's the manner in which government works in a Republic. The people's business is the Council agenda and the Council can act by voting upon those items.
Public comments are taken prior to the vote on each and every agenda issue. The people's business on the agenda and public comments on those agenda items should be the first priority. Pubic comments on non-agenda items cannot be acted upon at the meeting. They can only be remanded to staff and are, in my opinion, second priority to the people's business: the Council agenda.
Rhetoric from special interest groups and individuals grandstanding that the Council just doesn't want to listen to the people is bogus. The council is placing the people's business first and listening to citizen's non-agenda items second.