Open Thread: Improving Public Comment at Metro Meetings

John Walsh heckles Antonio Villaraigosa during public comment as the Bus Riders Union looks on. Image: ##http://flapsblog.com/##Flapsblog##

Metro Board Chair Diane Dubois offers an interesting motion to the Metro Board of Directors this month concerning public input to the Metro Board of Directors. The motion directs the County Counsel to report back to Metro at its October Board meeting with “revised Public Input rules that maximize Public Input and provide this Board flexibility in conducting meetings.”

This motion could be the first step in allowing remote testimony, similar to what the L.A. City Council Transportation Committee tried this summer, or it could be a thinly veiled plan to lesson the amount of microphone time given to uber-gadfly John Walsh. At this point, we don’t know because the wording is pretty vague.

Since the Metro Board will be hearing this motion next week, and new rules could go into place for the October meeting, this could be the best chance to weigh in. So to anyone who’s attended or listened to a Metro Board Meeting, what’s your advice? How could we make the public testimony even better?

And by better, I don’t necessarily mean more entertaining…but if that’s your definition of better feel free to get creative.

  • For context here is the Attorney General’s office brochure on the Ralph M. Brown act that dictates the rules for public meetings

    http://ag.ca.gov/publications/2003_Intro_BrownAct.pdf

    60 seconds for comments can be a bit limiting. Organizations with a unified position should be allocated a block of time as long as it agrees to not than expect a huge line of individual members who generally will be repetitive (or as one lady complained at a community meeting years ago “You all sound alike”) also being allowed to comment separately but basically repeating what they already said in the group’s presentation. This will especially be important for any hearings on fares that are likely to be held next year.

    John Walsh is less of a problem than the incoherent Arnold Sachs.

  • calwatch

    Use the same rule as the County Board of Supervisors – three minutes combined on any and all topics, plus three minutes in general public comment. Thus Arnold Sachs and John Walsh can’t keep marching to the podium 20 times in a given meeting (commenting on CEO’s report??? Really?) while the general public can deliver a more coherent thought than the 60 second hate.

  • calwatch

    Unfortunately they are adopting the most restrictive rule – three minutes COMBINED on everything, because I guess MTA board members have had it with Arnold Sachs getting up on every item. But one minute otherwise, which is really bad. Although, if you represent a group, you get more time – that has now been formalized. So if John Walsh can get breathing individuals to donate their minute of hate to him, he can represent the “United Riders of Los Angeles”.

    http://boardsecretary.metro.net/2013/10_October/20131017emacitem57.pdf

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