Forget pension reform: if you want the ultimate indicator of how bloated city government is, look no further than item 7B on tomorrow's agenda for the Garden Grove City Council meeting. The item calls for the council to pass a resolution that would limit public comments from five minutes to person to only three minutes. Oh, and if there's a bunch of people who want to talk about the same subject? Tough: if the mayor or mayor pro tem wants to, they can make community groups speak for everyone as a whole.
Oh, and if councilmembers still think this is too much public feedback? "A limit on the total amount of time for public comments during oral communications and/or a lesser limit on the time allotted to each speaker during oral communications," the proposed resolution reads, "may be set in order to facilitate consideration of a topic or to allow completion of a meeting with a lengthy agenda within a reasonable time."
But what's amazing is how city staff decided people rambling on and on in celebration of open government and the First Amendment constitutes a threat to city politics. According to a staff report obtained by the Weekly, city staff decided five minutes was too much time per person during public comments because...the majority of cities in Orange County and California do so. So if all the cities in Orange County and Cali jump off the cliff, so will Garden Grove? Pathetic.
City staff try to justify their idiocy by writing:
"Staff has observed that at some meetings, an inordinate amount of time is devoted to public comment, often of a repetitive nature. While it is entirely a policy decision for the City Council to make, staff feels obligated to present the option of shortening the time allotment per speaker in order to facilitate a more efficient use of time. Lessening the allotment provides more opportunity for discussion and deliberation on substantive action items later in the agenda."
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Translation: Screw community activists: we want to go home and watch whatever's on Bravo.
City council meets on this agenda item tomorrow. Go use your five minutes to raise holy hell.