Let me get this straight

Published 11:40 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2014

To the editor:

When the Democrats had control of the Board of County Commissioners (BOC), they allowed citizens three minutes to speak and that was just fine with everyone.  Now that the Republican-controlled BOC has changed back to the three minute rule for citizen comments, the Democrats are “outraged” and it is “silencing the citizens.”  Let’s look at some history.

During one of the BOC meetings when the Democrats were in control, I signed up to speak my opinion about how reckless and irresponsible the Commissioners were in regards to the construction of the DSS building.  I thought it was absolutely horrendous that they had already spent over $150,000 of taxpayer money on site work before the plans were even drawn up for the building.  Clearly, they were determined to build the building regardless of the cost.  When I stood to speak, I was limited to three minutes.  Even though I had much more to say about how poorly planned the project was, I had the good manners to sit down when I was told my time was up.  I did not pitch a fit and make a spectacle of myself for my own personal political gain.  Neither did anyone else in the room that evening.

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When the Republicans took over the BOC, they wanted to increase the time that citizens could comment from the three minute limit that the Democrats had in place.  They felt that the citizens should be able to fully give their opinions and that sometimes those thoughts might exceed three minutes.  They truly cared what the citizens thought.  In theory, it was a good idea, but in practice, it spiraled out of control.  People began using it for their own political agendas and some used the time to complain about things about which the Commissioners had no control or were not County business.  Some even went on for 15 minutes at a time.  Clearly, that is not an efficient way to run a meeting.  The feedback received by the Commissioners was that people no longer wanted to attend the meetings because they did not want to listen to the same people raving on and on meeting after meeting.

Because some people so badly abused the citizen comment portion of the BOC meetings, the Commissioners had to make changes so that they could get the County’s business done in a timely and efficient manner.  But now the Democrats are crying “foul” when the time limit is the same as when they were in office?  I find that to be the height of hypocrisy.


Cheryl Every