Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

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By William Smithers

I support a ban on comment "pooling" at Santa Barbara City Council meetings, i.e. on citizen attendees providing slips to give their two-minute speaking time to another attendee, allowing the latter to speak for many minutes uninterrupted.

The pooling provision has been abused often in the recent past by individuals promoting specific political/social/environmental/racial agendas in seemingly endless narcissistic colloquies.

Such a ban would in no way limit or eliminate our precious "free-speech" rights. Any person following council rules as to subject matter has the right to spend two minutes expounding on it/them.

If more than one person wishes to express a point of view, each under current rules is permitted two minutes to do so.

This is fair and equitable. On numerous occasions I've been frustrated watching council meetings delayed by persons dressing or behaving "cute" and delivering endless orations.

Santa Barbarans should be willing to abide by rules giving them an opportunity to express any opinion that follow council guidelines in two minutes.


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Bird Nov 14, 2018 10:21 AM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

I disagree. Pooling, giving one's time to another speaker, allows those who are uncomfortable at public speaking, those who fear stuttering, those who have something to say but dread being looked down at from the dais, or being videoed for two minutes, and whatever other reason of discomfort, to participate in the public process. (Of course, they could write emails/letters but those comments are never shared with the public so we have no idea how many support x, y, or z. )
I think it can be and has been abused. Cutting it off means that Council will hear from fewer people, not more. A parallel would be like insisting that a letterwriter sign only his own name to a letter and to not have co-signers.

a-1542228978 Nov 14, 2018 12:56 PM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

Council voted on AGENDA ITEMS to allow pooling up to 5 minutes, and to increase time to 3 minutes per individual speaker. Speaker limited to 3 minutes total, only when making GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENTS made prior to start of Council business. General public comment minutes cannot be pooled.

RHS Nov 14, 2018 11:52 AM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

Public comment has always been a symbolic and distorted process. We know that it attracts some folks that are not in sync with reality and the community. Limiting them to a small time is not wrong. For people with more to say and for groups with more people to say it there are other ways to be heard. First one is always able to communicate in writing by email or hard mail. The letters to newspapers and places like Edhat are excellent sounding boards. Actually being present in the council chambers is pretty ineffective in my experience. Allowing multiple people to give more time simply slows the process for others and the staff. I agree with the action of the council and with this proposal.

a-1542229516 Nov 14, 2018 01:05 PM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

I learn much from some public comment given that staff controls decisions and accessibility to info. Too often decisions are made by Reps dealt only a half deck. Some commenters share research that would otherwise be unknown. What are your thoughts on a Monthly forum where activists can present supplemental or other info? Or a PRIVATELY PAID community activist to inform public of undisclosed facts on what’s pending or happening? Or commenters with detailed info allowed 15 minutes pre or post the televised meeting? As residents we do not have access to emails. One speaker had a plethora of info on land fill cost over run concerns: I’d like to know more as Ablitts offers to take my plastic bags because China will not. A good 3-5 minute compromise reached yesterday but I’d like access to more info.

PitMix Nov 14, 2018 11:58 AM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

Seems like the pooling process can be manipulated so has to go. At least they don't have the severe problems that crop up in LA where public members say and carry racist and offensive things into the chambers. They have had a really hard time with that.

SBCountyLocal Nov 14, 2018 04:34 PM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

Petition Friedman to stay quite. He looks intelligent, but the moment he starts quoting others and drones on about his kids, family and his life "experiences" you understand what a idiot he is. And why Salud Carbajal left him behind when he went to Washington. The man is an egotistical idiot.

LocalinSB Nov 14, 2018 01:22 PM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

Revenge and Special Interests Win! Murillo targeted her biggest critic, Anna Marie Gott, to silence her. This is not about irrelevant comments or abuse of the pooling of minutes. This was solely about trying to silence an activist who is vehemently against many of Murillo's decisions which are not made in the best interest of the community or the constituents who voted for her.

SantaBarbaraObserver Nov 15, 2018 08:31 AM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

Yup. As irritating as the continued push by people all over the world to outlaw Pitbulls as they're clearly dangerous, horrible, bad dogs... Right? Just remember that McDonald's is the most popular burger joint, Taco Bell the most popular "ethnic" food. Popularity and quality seldom twain. But Murillo wasnt/isnt popular. More people voted against her than for her. She is a wet noodle. Sure she'll have her term, but I'll wager that she will never serve again in any elected role anywhere as she's simply not very good at her job. Just like her two predecessors, she is a shill who will continue to enlarge our debt and do absolutely nothing to resolve the many tough issues we face. So we will have more taxes, more fees, less services, more blight, more homeless, less job growth and perhaps the worst, more reliance on the ever-decreasing quality of life business called tourism...

Bob Wilson Nov 14, 2018 02:08 PM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

Silly people. Comments in front of the City Council are meaningless. Nothing is ever decided at a City Council meeting. They've all predetermined their position well in advance of the public meeting. Pooled or not pooled, your input doesn't matter.

jdoggydogg Nov 14, 2018 05:22 PM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

Nobody really running SB from SB. All are a bunch of saps with no connection to the past here. SB is OVER and has souled its soul to the lowest common denominators. Fix the potholes that riddle the streets here, sweep the gutters, weed the planters. Seriously, deplorable.

420722 Nov 14, 2018 06:04 PM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

I don’t support this ban at all. 2 minutes is not enough time voice your opinion. I do however support banning Cathy Murillo and her cronies from SB. That would be awesome.

Luvaduck Nov 15, 2018 10:40 AM
Ban Comment Pooling at City Council Meetings

Three minutes is plenty if you prepare before hand so you don't repeat like a bad recording. If you need more than that or are into fulminating at length, write a letter to each of the council members & deliver the stack in person during your 3 minutes if you can't afford stamps. If you're just in love with your own voice, find an empty hallway.

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