Sunday, August 17, 2008

The public right to speak


This is what the Middletown charter says about public comment at Council meetings:

The public shall have the right to address the Council regarding matters of public concern.
Subject to the rules of the Council, the public shall have the right to address the Council at
any Council meeting on any item on the agenda for the Council meeting at which they
speak and may address the Council on non-agenda matters of general public concern only
in accordance with provisions established by the Council for such input.

When a quorum (6 members) of the Council meet with the mayor, or deputy mayor present, it's my understanding that it constitutes a council meeting. Calling it a "special" meeting may not allow the council, or the mayor, to prevent public comment. I'm not a lawyer, but I can't find anything in the charter that says a meeting can be held.

I might be wrong on what constitutes a "council meeting" but it's a question worth asking at a time when the mayor will host a special meeting to meet with the Army on the Reserve Training Center. I don't buy the argument that only elected officials ought to be allowed to speak.


argos said...

What about asking the State Attorney General about this? I'm sure that some ordinary citizens would like to ask questions and provide information.

Anonymous said...

De-Based Dog and Pony Show, Speak Spot, Speak!

This anonymous post appeared a day or so ago:

“Yes, public hearings can be so messy. All those bothersome yet credible folks who do not agree with the Mayor or his minions. That is the reason the City did not hold a public hearing when it announced its Army Base sites-selected-with-a-slant alternatives, in Maromas...”

(What if, perish forbid, in addition to troublesome disagreements, that embarrassing, name-calling Gadfly decided to make an appearance?! The indignity of it all!)

Anyway, the dignified invited politicians and officials (is there a difference?), from the now-on-Board (man) Lane contingent, who are all eager to further their own careers and agendas, are coming to meet with the deified Army Colonel. The characters include, the Mayor and Council who can not resist plugging their development-oriented site selections, the chameleon-like Town Planner turning appropriately green as necessary to advance /thwart planning objectives, the self-righteous Secretary of State seizing upon brownfields and farm issues as self-aggrandizing vehicles out of Westfield , the sue-happy AG wanting to ride on, litigating over the horizon, the Congresswoman who has been ordered to be helpful, or else, by the Secretary of the Army…All gather in Council Chambers. The volume of hot air may cause the building to levitate, all well and good for them but what about us ordinary folks?

Happily, it seems far too complicated to ask for a urine sample to distinguish Westfield Residents from the pretenders so I guess anyone, even those from the Village District, will gain entry to this show. Maybe a simple blood test would reveal political alliances built on treachery and duplicity rather than on principles and honesty? Uh oh, beam me aboard, Scotty, this tub is too hot for all of us!

Jasper Cane