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President's Message: Welcoming Public Input - Transit Style (Arlene Ellis)
Current Position on Local Government
Consensus: Position on the City Council, Adopted April 1980
Membership
Discussion Questions for Consensus Meeting
Viewpoint on KHVH
Search for Leaders
Changing the Voter Requirement for Charter Amendments
Educating the Public on Proposed Amendments
Time Restrictions on Charter Amendments
Teamsters Vote Count
Letters (Adeline Schutz)
Consensus Meeting
Letters - 2 (Barbara Kem Neff)
Community Events

President's Message:

Welcoming Public Input - Transit Style

On August 14, at 7pm the City Department of Transportation services held a public hearing on their request to UMPTA for an additional $11 million for further engineering and preparation of the final EIS.

The Hearing was conducted by Director Joe Magaldi accompanied by a member of DTS and a recording secretary. The meeting was attended by 5 others- 2 members of the press, the DTS public relations person, Cliff Slater of COST and I represented the League of Women Voters.

The Hearing was called to Order at 7:02pm. We (2 members of the public) were warned that we had exactly 3 minutes to give our testimony and would be cut off promptly at that time.

We were also cautioned that the testimony must be factual and on the subject and no emotions were to be displayed, or the Hearing would be immediately terminated.

By cutting out a couple of paragraphs, I was able to get to "thank you" as the buzzer went off. Slater had a short 4 paragraphs which took him 2 minutes including a few asides.

No questions were asked of the two of us and no comments were made by Mr. Magaldi. At exactly 7:12pm, Magaldi adjourned the Public Hearing.

Charles Isaak appeared to testify at 7:15, but was told that the Hearing was over. Bob Crane appeared shortly after, but he too could not testify because the Hearing was over.

Needless to say, the four members of the public who appeared to testify were unanimously in opposition of the City's request. In my 5 1/2 years of attending and participating in public hearings this was a record.

One, in the speed in which hearing was conducted. With only 2 speakers, surely the Director could have accommodated a few extra seconds - unless he feared the appearance of more speakers. Ten minutes from the Call of Order to adjournment felt like a joke.

Two, since the parties to the Hearing were still present 18 minutes after the Call to Order, surely the 2 late-comers should have been given the opportunity to get on record with their testimonies.

Three, this Hearing was reminiscent of the first Transit Public Hearing I attended, when Magaldi threatened to end the Hearing because the audience applauded some of us.

Surely this experience cannot be described as one that would encourage public input. Little wonder that many concerned citizens feel intimidated and are reluctant to verbalize their concerns before their government representatives.

Arlene Ellis

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