Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sups. Chiu & Campos's Offices: Public Comment Around 3 PM Today

(Campos, left, and Chiu, are competing in June's primary for Assembly District 17's seat in Sacramento. Public domain photo.)

A short while ago, I spoke with Taylor in board president Sup. David Chiu's office and her counterpart Meredith in Sup. David Campos's office and they each guesstimated public comment today would start between 3 and 3:30 pm today. Spread the word so more folks can take advantage of this info.

It's just one way the Board of Supervisors disrespect the taxpayers. While each Tuesday's full board meetings always include public comment time, the supervisors make no effort at allowing the taxpayers to show up at a fixed time to address our public officials. Sometimes public comment is early in the meeting or way at the end, forcing working people to take off from their jobs and give up pay in order to make use of 2 minutes of public comment.

I've advocated with staffers at Chiu and Campos' offices for each to take up the cause of a fixed time for general public comment on Tuesdays, if only to win a few votes as they compete against each other for the district 17 seat in the state Assembly. Unfortunately, neither candidate addresses this matter but that could change between now and the June election.

Practically all City commissions and advisory panels, like the police and healthy commissions and the HIV community boards, put public comment at the top of the agenda which allows for taxpayers to show at a certain time and know they can speak. The Sunshine Ordinance Task Force's monthly meetings always start at 4 pm and regardless of the agenda, when the clock strikes 5 pm they take public comments on matters not on the agenda. So civilized!

For the past few weeks, I've emailed most of the supervisors and their aides, along with Clerk of the Board Angela Calvillo, urging a set time for public comment. The supervisors and staffers haven't replied, but Calvillo shared these details:

California Government Code Section 54954.3(b) and Administrative Code Section 67.15(c) state that a policy body may adopt reasonable rules and regulations relating to public comment. In Chapter one of the Board’s Rules of Order, while various rules have been adopted pertaining to public comment, a time certain Rule has not been codified. 

As you know, the Board welcomes input from members of the public on items of interest that are within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Board, including items being considered at the meeting which have not been referred to committee, public comment is placed on the Agenda in order to fulfill both types of public comment. 

Thus, the current placement of public comment on the Board’s agenda is to allow working individuals a chance to get off work and get to the meeting and still have the opportunity to provide either general public comment or public comment on those items not referred to committee. This would not be the case should public comment be placed at the beginning of the meeting. [...] Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide anyone with an estimated time when any item, including general public comment, will begin.

Well, it's not rocket science to determine a set time for public comment and our supervisors should address this subject so that taxpayers can make regular appearance at the Tuesday meetings, and not waste hours of our precious time.

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