Decorum at city council meetings

Dear Editor:

In recent months Mayor (Robert) Uribe has randomly banned applause from the public for speakers and our council members.

I asked at the last council meeting for a clarification of his new rules. He looked at me, gave no answer and dismissed me by calling for the next speaker before my allowed three minutes was even complete.

I ask again for clarification of these rules as they are not in the charter or code of conduct rules. They appear arbitrary and dictatorial. Can you please clarify when and where we are allowed to applaud, who decided these rules, are they official or legal?

We, the public, deserve the right to express our polite appreciation of speakers that share their thoughts about our community. It takes courage to stand before a crowd and speak. Whether we agree with those speakers or not we should be able to show them respect for their strength to get up there in the first place. Applause is a respectful display.

The City states they want public input. When the public attempts to give input the Mayor, and occasionally council members also, shuts them down, belittles, sneers, gets on his phone or shuffles papers in front of him and looks down not even giving the constituents any attention. Openly disrespecting the public is not something any leadership should be doing. That speaker only has three minutes. Three minutes should not be too long for our leadership to engage with a member of the public. And yes, I do know that some of it is ramblings and tedious.

But I also know that for one day a month, for three minutes at a time, you can all listen to the people who entrusted you to care for and guide the city that we live in and love. And whether you agree with them or not you can and should allow them to be applauded by people who respect their strength to get up and speak.

Tanya Duarte

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