Is This How City Council Listens to Citizens?

by lewwaters


Jim Moeller arrived late and that I saw that evening, did not fill out a card to request to speak. He was the only person to speak all evening in defense of council member Jeanne Harris.

It should be no surprise that Moeller, who has never met a tax he doesn’t like, also favors slapping citizens with heavy tolls to bring Portland, Oregon’s near bankrupt Max Line into downtown Vancouver.

Why does the Vancouver City Council continue to “update” their guidelines where citizen communications are concerned?

Will we eventually get to the point where citizens are denied speaking to council and end up being dictated to?

Guidelines for citizen communications in effect Monday evening were as follows;

Click image to enlarge, see item number 4

Vancouver City Council Ethics Panel Decision HERE

8 Comments to “Is This How City Council Listens to Citizens?”

  1. Lew, If you have been watching the council as long as I have, this page is so sorely out of date, its not even funny. Its even out of date when Royce was Mayor. It seriously needs to be revised, pronto!

    Each sub-section:

    #1: Boy that one is SO out of date! Citizens communications is out at the end or near the end of the meeting. That one needs to be changed pronto.

    #2: Some do, some don’t give there name as they’re regular commentators and most of the council members know who they are. But for the regulars who don’t come repeatedly every week, maybe its time that it becomes a rule in stone to have each and every person come up with their name and address before speaking.

    On #4: The Mayor has changed his stance several times. The one thing that I noticed the past couple of meetings that has been a spoken rule is that the Mayor and his predecessors would ask for any final comments or commentators or cards near the end of citizens communications.

    If this is true, this tells me that this whole page is inadequate and needs serious revision! (Or the mayor needs to be notified of this page and change his tune or the policies need page updates.)

    #6 is no longer in existence. They ask people only to speak once either at citizen’s communications or if the item someone wishes to speak is subject or hearing or action, they ask you to wait until that hearing. If I am wrong, I would check with the city council members or manager.

    #8: I am thinking that THIS one is the one that everyone in the council changes needs to remember. Especially that its important! If some one doesn’t like whats being prattled on or said, its only 3 minutes. Maybe the Mayor also needs to be more strict on the timer and 2:30, ask people to sum up, so that every one finally ends fairly ends at 3 min?

    How about the red, yellow, green system of a stop sign? Or some other timer

    On the general side, citizen’s communications has been thrown around from early in the meeting to near the end and there has been some summary changes with it. I think that there needs to be a PUBLIC discussion on this subject and the city needs a new policy on the subject.

    Some thing though that really BOTHERED me was the new suggestion that they are going to limit people from coming before the council only once per 30 days? What, are they tired of hearing the same commentators coming before them or prattling on with the same subject?

    I wish someone would come up with a good package of ideas related to this and get it ready for the next City Charter review in 4 or 5 years!


  2. The page is currently down, Jeremy, undergoing some revisions of some sort. I placed a cached copy so we may see just what changes will be made once they open the page back up.

    Then, maybe we’ll rip into them again, depending on what restrictions are placed upon us.


  3. Maybe they are not liking all of the attention they are getting from David Madore and other people because of how foolish all of this little triangle of stupidity going on looks upon them.

    Honestly, I just want things fixed, get the investigation on and over with some sanctions if they are warranted and let the people speak their minds at citizen’s communications. Is that REALLY too hard to ask for??

    Or is someone wanting to play this merry-go-round of hell for political advantage and wasting time, wearing people down.

    There are some legitimate angles that need to be fixed and hopefully they will be pursued in the rightful manner. I just don’t it warrants all of the mega attention that is being some how manufactured for it.


  4. Any new news on this one?


  5. I’m not hearing anything yet, Jeremy. It’s obvious Moeller was a plant treated to some special privilege.

    I’m about ready to call for picketing the court house in large numbers because they sure aren’t listening to us.


  6. CourtHouse? Why not City Haul? (yes, I meant this direct wording.)


  7. Actually, City Hall (Haul) is what I meant.

    Senior moment. 😉


  8. Well I did watch the very beginning of citizen’s communications and Tim finally made it clear that you had to “run” to get a card and get it filled out before he officially started the citizen’s communications.

    But he further stated the point that he wanted people to (paraphrase) talk to the council about the city’s business? And he emphasized it a second and third time during this run to the door to get cards over a minute or two.

    I have not had a chance to watch the 50 minute discussion but hope to finish that tomorrow. Though I have watched the first twenty minutes.

    Honestly, I cannot understand how Tim can say with a straight, honorable comment that Light Rail, Columbia River Crossing and other things like it that have regional significance “are not city business?”

    Especially since four members of the council, Jack Burkman, Larry is an alternative on C-tran, Jeanne Harris (on standby until the Ethics probe is complete) Tim Leavitt and Jeanne Stewart sit on various transportation boards that have an influence ON this project.

    And to tell me, that he as mayor has no pull or influence with Chris Gregoire? No pull with either Senator from Washington OR either senators from Oregon? Or local state leadership and representatives? Mayor Adams? County Officials? on either side of the river?

    Maybe Royce taught me too well what power can do and how strings can benefit a community..

    Tim if you read this, I cannot fathom how you can continue to utter this line over and over again, that you have no sway over the state politics or this bridge or things that happen in YOUR community….

    And that citizen’s should not have the right to communicate with their government redress of their issues. And that citizen’s communications can only be about a certain level of what you deem is appropriate and what the city can be most effective on.

    No, I don’t think you can make every single constituent happy or fix every one of their problems. But to not let them speak during their three minutes about their issues is just some thing smells wrong with me.

    One thing that I do not think has been mentioned here or on the other blogs, is that you can communicate directly or as a group with your elected officials through email, a phone call to the city manager’s office or a well thought out letter? How long has it been since anyone has written a well thought out piece of paper with supporting evidence and sent it their way?

    Maybe any one reading this might who is a city resident might want to start communicating with their local city council men and women and let them know what they think of an issues facing this city.


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