Importance of Citizen InputI had written all of Encinitas Council, as well as the City Manager, City Attorney and City Clerk an email asking that the issue of expanding time for oral communication up to 30 minutes, and allowing public speakers after special presentations, might be placed on a future agenda.
Only Councilmember Kristin Gaspar wrote me back, stating: “Public input and the ability to address the council is an important part of the meeting, which may warrant some level of discussion.”
Unfortunately, Kristin Gaspar was absent from the 4/25/12 Council Meeting, and no other Councilmember asked for this issue to be agendized for future discussion. Setting future agenda items now requires consent of only two Councilmembers! I was disappointed, but I’ll keep advocating that Council should respect the public and encourage, not discourage, public speakers.
Council could easily allow up to 10 speakers, at 3 minutes each, for oral communications at the beginning of the meeting. It would be rare to have that many; in fact, it’s rare to have more than five speakers. For example, at the 4/25/12 Council Meeting, only four people spoke during oral communications.
Also, as Special Presentations are allowed an unlimited amount of time, and as they are “on the agenda,” public speakers should be able to address them, as well, without being forced to do so during oral communications! Alternatively, Special Presentations could be set as agenda items, so that public speakers can ask questions or make comments. They should not be designed to be PR opportunities for incumbents, EXCLUDING public commentary.
The community’s perception of Council’s understanding, consideration and respect (or lack thereof) in encouraging public participation and listening to citizen input will surely be an important factor in upcoming elections, both this year and in 2014.
League of Women Voters Supports NO on Proposition E
The League of Women Voters of California has a position, arrived at after member study and consensus that “supports action at all levels of government for the provision of affordable housing for all Californians”.
The City of Oceanside’s Proposition E, to be decided on the June ballot, would allow mobile home park owners to raise the space rent without limits whenever ownership of a mobile home changes. Unlimited increases in space rents would have the obvious effect of reducing the number of affordable housing units in Oceanside. Mobile home parks have historically been a major part of the supply of affordable housing in Oceanside. Also approximately half of existing mobile home parks are age restricted for seniors, many on fixed incomes.
Therefore The League of Women Voters in North County strongly urges a NO vote on ballot measure E in the June 5 election.
Mary A. Crowley,
President, League of Women Voters North County San Diego