Don Gosney: Taunting the Public

Don Gosney

blogimage.jpgA response to Tom Butt's article entitled "To Clap or Not to Clap":

With all due respect, Tom, the problem last night was not entirely the fault of the people showing their enthusiasm for a speaker they agreed with.  When you taunted—yes, taunted—the public by asking whether this was a talent contest, it was condescending, demeaning and insulting and THAT, Tom, was what brought on the whoops and boos.  You didn't say it just once, Tom.  You said it at least twice and these people felt much like others felt a week before when you made your comment about poor people expecting maid service.

As for the show of support after each speaker, this is much the same as when supporters of the Mayor or Jovanka line up to praise them for the most minor of things.  If the Mayor sets up a presentation to praise someone for their environmentalism when they picked up a gum wrapper off the street, supporters line up to praise that person for their civic activism and then they praise the Mayor for recognizing the wonderful actions.  Isn't this really much the same 'waste' of meeting time as what happens when someone claps?  No wait—the clapping takes maybe 5-7 seconds but each of the Mayor's or Jovanka's supporters get two minutes to verbally 'clap' to show their support.

There are a lot of ways, Tom, to speed up these meetings and if the Council ever gets serious about this, then we the people in the audience can give you all pointers.  All you have to do is to listen to us.  We're actually muttering these suggestions from the audience but we're not allowed to voice our opinions any louder for fear that the Mayor will have the police cite us and boot us from the meeting.  [When I suggest you listen, I'm not talking about another straw poll amongst your own dittoheads that reply to your polls.  They're not representative of the City as a whole and I think you know this.]

Just to whet your appetite, let me suggest that rather than spend 40 minutes of Council time ejecting 250 members of the public and then fighting amongst yourselves about it afterwards, wouldn't it have been more productive to simply allow the clapping?  Let's see…29 speakers times 10 seconds of clapping comes to about 290 seconds.  That's extending the meeting by almost five whole minutes—compared to extending the meeting by at least 40 minutes as the Council disrupts the meeting.

Let's see if we can think of another action regularly seen at our meetings that adds little to the meeting but extends the meeting: when members of the Council—especially the Mayor—overtalks other members of the Council or the public, the agenda does not move forward.  We're simply wasting time.

Or how about those interminable debates about extending the meeting so the Mayor can finish HER agenda items.  Twenty minutes of discussion on whether to extend the meeting past the Council's own deadline?

There's more to this list, Tom, if you or any other member of the Council is interested.  [The Corky issue is a whole other email discussion.]

I know that several members of the Council might say that the meeting would progress better if people like me would just shut up and sit down.  You'll say that no one is listening to us anyway so why don't we get it and stay seated.  That, too, is fodder for another discussion.

Don Gosney, Richmond Resident

Showing 4 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Ormond Otvos
    commented 2014-03-27 19:13:53 -0700
    This site has rules, yet one of the founders of the site argues against having rules at the CC meetings.

    You decide.
  • Ormond Otvos
    commented 2014-03-27 19:12:41 -0700
    It’s a meeting of the City Council which the public may attend if they follow the very commonplace rules of decorum. It is NOT a rally before a football game.

    There’s nothing special about those rules, and hundreds of cities manage to hold their meetings without the hoots and catcalls from the attendees, some of whom are paid to make the Mayor look bad. (fact)
  • Don Gosney
    commented 2014-03-20 15:30:20 -0700
    Which was more disruptive—5-7 seconds of clapping after the first set of speakers or the ejection of EVERYONE and the ensuing 40 minutes of bickering by the Council as they argued whether they should hold the Council meeting behind closed doors or open it to the public? You can argue both sides of this—just as the Council did on Tuesday.

    Sometimes it’s much less disruptive to simply allow the clapping rather than start World War III over something as petty as this. That’s what good leadership is all about. It’s important that the Mayor and the members of the Council stay focused on why they’re there: it’s to conduct the business of the people and not to spend their time arguing whether the people should be excluded from a public meeting.
  • frank scott
    commented 2014-03-20 13:16:58 -0700
    i agree with you(butt), and any idea that this is constitutional suppression of rights belongs in the garbage, which is where much of that document should be anyway, once replaced by a truly representative expression of a democratic majority of the people…as opposed to that ruling class document of elitist slave owners and others who would probably puke to think that you were serving on a council, and puke even more to think that low-life scum like the rest of us can even vote..bates and any others who see a restriction on speech by not having time wasting applause at a meeting in which alleged representatives of the people are supposed to take care of the people’s business and not simply act as provokers of cheering or booing sections need to be thinking more about what democracy means or is supposed to mean and less about their crazed rationales for just another form of minority rule calling itself democratic..the council is supposed to be representative of the people…those who show up at council meetings may represent the business community, the religious community, the progressive community and some combination of those and more that amounts to the regressive community, but the council has a job to do for the people and anything that stands in its way is operating against the interest of the, cut the crap, and if i ever attend and speak i will be sure to ask people to suspend any thunderous ovation, cheering, booing or death threats until after the meeting, at which point i will gladly accept praise and thanks and deal with the threats to the best of my ability..
Fight your California speeding ticket and win here. Fight your red light camera ticket here. Fight your cell phone ticket here.