|(Sept. 5, 2019) -- Roughly six hours into its Sept. 3 Council meeting, Councilmembers voted
The motion by Vice Mayor Dee Andrews, seconded by Councilman Daryl Supernaw, gave initial approval to a package measures that originated when Councilman Daryl Supernaw said he wanted to "streamline" (shorten) Council meetings and invited
The draft ordinance text includes the following:
...C. Public Comment for Agenda Items.
Although some legislative bodies (including the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and L.A. County Metro) require the public to a submit-a-card/sign-up to speak to agenda items, the LB draft ordinance goes further by creating a forfeiture of a person's right to speak to Council agenda items unless he/she signs up before the item is called. The public can't know when the item will be called because another "streamlining" rule enables the Mayor without Council objection to move agenda items and take them up as he wishes.
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In addition to effectively requiring the public to be present for the entire Council meeting to ensure they can speak to one item they wish, the new chgange would also effectively preclude members of the audience who might not sign up to speak, but decide to speak in response to statements by the public or city staff that deserve rebuttal or correction. (Other speakers could do so only by foregoing portions of their planned testimony that may already be cut to 90 seconds under another "streamlining" rule.)
At the Sept. 3 Council meeting, the draft ordinance didn't come up until roughly six hours into the meeting. Mayor Garcia could have taken the item up earlier, when the change would have been more prominent, but he didn't. Public speakers Ann Cantrell and Corliss Lee -- who'd been present at City Hall since 2:30 p.m. to attend a meeting of the Council's "Budget Oversight Committee" as well as the evening Council meeting, signed up to speak but were simply unable to stay until 11 p.m...so no one publicly spoke to this proposed change.
To date, no incumbent Councilmember has indicated a willingness to make a minor tweak to the text [advocated editorially by LBREPORT.com] that would address the issue by specifying that after all member of the public who signed up have been heard, the Mayor or presiding chair shall ask if any others wish to speak, invite them to be heard and then close public testimony.
[LBREPORT.com expresses no opinion here on whether the Council can legally do this under the Brown Act.]
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