2019-01-11 / Letters

Council should allow more public input in all forms

To the editor:

The South Portland City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15 will include a vote on proposed standing rule changes, specifically to eliminate Citizen Discussion Part 1 with an additional change to disallow speaking about items on the agenda at the only recommended time, the end of the meeting.

The defense of this action as a way to “streamline” meetings is not valid; it only serves to limit citizen input. This comment opportunity has been in place for decades. It is not time to minimize public input but rather to increase it. This change would require citizens to remain to the end of the meeting, sometimes after midnight, and would still allow the council to eliminate the item if it is too late. Ridiculous.

South Portland should pride itself on having liberal opportunity for citizen input. To say that I can email my councilors is moot when many of them refuse/fail to answer emails or phone calls, which should be a requirement of the position.

The council is there to meet the needs of their constituents, not the other way around. This could be the beginning of the erosion of citizen rights. Please come Tuesday, Jan. 15 and/or email your councilors (all of them). I urge you to use your voice in opposition to this drastic change in practice.

Rosemarie De Angelis South Portland

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