Friday, August 20, 2010

Read: City Council Discourages Public Comment

Thanks Joan for the heads up. I will try to make it this Tuesday.
Unidos Venceremos! United We Will Win!

~Peta-de-Aztlan~ Sacramento, California, Amerika
"An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come."
~ Victor Hugo, 18th Century French Philosopher c/s

From: "Joan Burke, Loaves & Fishes" <>
To: Peter <>
Sent: Fri, August 20, 2010 10:53:08 AM
Subject: City Council Discourages Public Comment

City Council Discourages Public Comment

Dear Friend of Loaves & Fishes,

Loaves & Fishes is concerned about a proposed change regarding City Council meetings. Currently, people wishing to address the Council on items not on the agenda may address the council (for 2 minutes each) at the 6 PM start of the evening's agenda.  The Council has voted to move the open comment period back to the very end of the agenda-which is sometimes very late at night, and discourages people from bringing their issues before the elected body that is supposed to represent them.  This action is directly targeted against Safe Ground's homeless activists who have been speaking before the Council every week about the need for Safe Ground and yet another attempt to disenfranchise Safe Ground's homeless activists, and others with little power. It will impact all organizations and citizens who also use the public comment period to raise timely issues with the Council, and awareness about their concerns.

I've had the opportunity to watch as the public addresses the Council. It is truly moving to hear ordinary people speak up for themselves. Some are articulate; some are visibly nervous; each has a point to make. It is a pure form of democracy in action to be cherished. Yet the City Council's action shows their lack of respect for their constituents.  The amount of time that Public Comment takes is not long – usually well under 20 minutes.

To their credit, Mayor Johnson and Councilmembers Kevin McCarty and Ray Tretheway voted against this change.  Steve Cohn was absent so did not vote. Councilmembers Waters, Pannell, Sheedy, Fong and Hammond unfortunately did vote for this change.

The Sacramento Bee's editorial opposing the change is here:

We are asking as many individuals and  groups as we can get to turn out next Tuesday evening, August 31st at 6pm at City Hall and express their opposition to the change.  If you can make it to the next meeting, we would appreciate your support for keeping the Public Comment period at the front of the weekly agendas. Your presence alone will show support; you're also welcome to speak to the Council if you wish.

Thank you for anything you can do! Please forward this information to anyone who you think will attend and/or call or email their City Council representatives and voice their opposition to the change.

Joan Burke
Director of Advocacy
Loaves & Fishes
(916) 446-0874

Contact info for our City Council representatives is below.

Mayor Kevin Johnson–
District 1, Ray Tretheway-
District 2, Sandy Sheedy–
District 3, Steve Cohn–
District 4, Robert King Fong–
District 5, Lauren Hammond–
District 6, Kevin McCarty–
District 7, Robbie Waters–
District 8, Bonnie Pannell–
(View District map @
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