There’s no good reason for the council to force speakers to pick and choose their one agenda topic of the night

 

Mayor Rogers is absolutely correct that this oral communications proposal tonight is in fact an extension of the amount of comment time that is now available to the public.

The problem with this idea though — which he doesn’t mention — is that if the council restricts their new three-minute, on-topic comment time to only one opportunity per night, it effectively tells the residents that they have to pick and choose the ONE topic that they are allowed to present to the council directly.

Unfortunately, this limitation in the rules is an actual restriction on the content of the speakers’ remarks, or their addressing of grievances. You only get one shot a night guys and so take your pick.

That’s wrong. This proposed new rule could also could easily generate bizarre situations where scads of boosters (or whomever) could come down and directly lobby the council on behalf of a certain agenda item, but any opposition present has already shot its wad on another important topic from the same agenda — and all because the city council in October of 2017 forced them to choose one topic or the other. Unfair advantages there, anyone?

So, while the idea of allowing speakers to directly address the council on each reported agenda item is a great idea (a la Glendale), there’s no good reason to force anyone to have to restrict their content to only one specific item per night.

The courts might even view this as an illegal restriction on speaker content and city issues, especially if it results in an imbalance of views and lobbying efforts on council night.

A member of the public can only directly talk about one thing per night? Someday the courts might ask, “Why?”

Rogers is also totally correct about the courts allowing public agencies limited oral communications times (far less than Burbank), but what he leaves out again is that they do not tolerate restrictions on speaker content regarding city issues. This “one agenda topic only, guys” could be the legal problem for Burbank here, not time allotments.

And again, why restrict it in this way, if that’s the official plan? The council wants to hear specific agenda-item comments, right?

That’s why they’re making the change, no? To solicit specific on-the-fly views?

So why limit people.
 
 
 

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “There’s no good reason for the council to force speakers to pick and choose their one agenda topic of the night

  1. F.K.

    The council should just end public comment. It contribitributes nothing but but wastes time in the council being delayed at taking care of important business. The council and manager know more than the public does so the public should just sit, listen and learn.

  2. Cinthia

    What they should do is make it illegal for people to show their home made videos. Only city official videos should be allowed at meetings.

    • No more homemade videos! They’re dangerous and subversive! They also disclose the truth about what’s going on in Burbank and the truth isn’t always pretty and it sometimes reveals who is lying to us. You’re right!.No more homemade videos!

  3. Anonymous

    I support a once a month rule. People like Nonlan could speak once a month for two minutes

    • Jen

      I keep hearing the city needs money so what does everyone think of a speaking tax ? If you want to speak @ council you pay a speaking tax to be able to speak ?

        • Incognito

          The city needs money, because they have MISS Managed the money, how does taxing someone who wants to be heard fix the financial crisis…. NOT to mention it’s illegal.

          WOW, pay attention at council and pay attention to the crisis Burbank is in financially has Nothing at all to do with the speakers. The speakers bring crap to light, that the average resident has NO clue about. We are in a very sad state of affairs, at the hands of the top…..

          • semichorus

            Interesting points, but they’re off kilter here. Tonight at least, if the speakers are claiming that it’s “illegal” for the council to increase the amount of speaker time, they’re wrong.

            They’re also wrong to claim that the council cutting back speaker time is illegal. It’s not.

            The big issue is this: if the council plans to restrict critical speech or advocacy to only ONE direct agenda item per night per speaker — if that’s the plan — does this in fact restrict speech? Does it help block the debate, or limit direct advocacy on an agenda item?

            And why would they want to do this anyway?

  4. WW

    Wow! Can’t believe the comments here. Do these people, who have clearly never read (or care about) the U.S. Constitution, also not know anything about laws pertaining to the public’s right to speak at governmental meetings? No wonder an idiot like Trump is president.

  5. Rece

    They should make people dress better for meetings and they need to ban hate speech at meetings. So much hate speech I never watch the Burbank TV anymore.

    • Mike

      That Mike and Roy show is right wing hate.

      • Anonymous

        You couldn’t be more wrong, Mike. Apparently you haven’t seen much, if any, of The Mike and Roy Show. The Mike and Roy shares facts with the community and does its best to hold City Council accountable for their actions. Some people can’t seem to handle the truth. If you know of any hate that has come from The Mike and Roy Show, please share an example.

    • Tom

      Any new rule that shuts Nolan down is great in my mind. The man is a dinosaur

      • Pepsi

        I think the best thing would be to just end the public speaking and save time. People can make an email their opinions to the council.

        • Anonymous

          “People can make an email their opinions to the council.” Uh, they block emails too. Just ask Will Rogers. NEWSFLASH: they are trying to control content so they can continue with what THEY WANT not what the public wants. It’s call CENSORSHIP.

          • semichorus

            Staff’s obviously trying to control Council Comments and Responses to Comments.

            Albano’s been going out of her way the last few years to keep them from talking too much in public — with the excuse that the “Brown Act” is in jeopardy of being violated. Nonsense.

  6. Anonymous

    Rogers is an embarrassment. One foot in the grave, barely able to function, almost completely checked out. RESIGN

    • semichorus

      Well, I don’t know. This new change was no doubt his idea, and except for the two things that I mentioned were quietly slipped into the redline, it’s a good one.

      It’s a variation on Glendale’s on-the-fly approach to oral comments — and other cities — and Burbank should have done this years ago. I actually wrote a letter to the Leader about this years ago.

      • Anonymous

        I was referring to his “performance” last night. Luddy had to constantly feed him cues and shuffle his script for him and he still continuously screwed up.

        Watching him trying to call speakers up for orals was excruciating.

        The man can not function. This is a disservice to to the citizens, tantamount to governance by proxy. He should be at home in bed not sitting there in an overmedicated daze, pleading colleagues and staff to prompt him and, worst of all, masking his glaring inadequacies with lame attempts at humor.

        Absurd. His votes shouldn’t even be counted. His condition is only gonna get worse — and sure as hell won’t get better. Rogers has got to go. NOW

        • semichorus

          Well maybe. But it’s kind of sad at this point.

          • 91505

            It is not sad it is disgusting that Rogers
            has not resigned – The city is not about Rogers it is about the people who live here and we do not need a sick mayor that babbles and does nothing to correct our problems.

          • Anonymous

            Sad yet interesting. He was able to focus on some things and not others.
            I couldn’t help but wonder what Talamantes and Frutos were thinking. Luddy was so busy keeping the meeting moving forward (on Roger’s behalf) that she was probably in a survival mode. Springer acts like she is on some drug to slow down her speech. I’m not relating to her whatsoever.

  7. chad

    In the words of our mayor, it’s downright “Trumpian.!!!”

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