The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

September 7, 2010
Sacramento City Council does a 180 on public comments

 The Sacramento City Council did the right thing this evening, and it had to reverse itself to do so.

Last month, it had agreed to move the time for public comments not on agenda items to the end of the meeting from the beginning. Some council members complained that it slowed down meetings and that special interests, including advocates for a safe ground campground for the homeless, had monopolized the period.

But opponents pointed out that with Regional Transit service cuts, buses and trains don't start after 9 p.m. The League of Women Voters and the ACLU subsequently weighed in, saying the change was bad for public access. So did the Bee's editorial board.

This evening, the council voted unanimously to return the comment period to the beginning, with the proviso that if it went past 30 minutes, the rest of the comments would be moved to the end. Of the last 34 meetings, only four comment periods exceeded that half-hour limit.

"I think this is a good day for democracy," said Mayor Kevin Johnson, who opposed the original move.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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