Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Big bad Geraldine

Maggie says:
In the best lead paragraph of a local news story I've seen in a while (I love jokes that you either really get or you simply don't), the Trib's Peter Rice tells us today that:

Repeated talk of "international bankster conspiracies" and other off-the-wall topics might be a little less common at future Albuquerque City Council meetings.

That's right, folks. You know a Geraldine Amato reference as soon as you seen one. In "City Council may limit public comment," we find out that the City Council brain trust is still searching for ways to squash Amato's personal expression without squashing everyone's right to personal expression. Tough balance.

Amato has a curious habit of often saying right-on things, but in such a way and a manner that I hate to admit I agree with them. Know what I mean?

At any rate, the Council's right on about the problem:

It can be especially frustrating if a member of the public comes to make one comment on one issue, then sits through a five-hour meeting only to have the subject tabled because of so much public comment, Heinrich said.

"We have to be able to get through our agenda," he said.

Was I the only sucker hoping for a decision on the Volcano Heights plan last week? I went to the meeting hoping to see something, anything... but had to leave around 8:00 to pick up a friend from the airport. I got back home around 10:00, sure I'd missed all the action, and checked in with the live meeting online to make sure. Uh oh... public comments still in full swing. The meeting ended after 11:00 p.m. with no decision made and yet another continuance.

That night (okay, every night), Amato was at the microphone every chance she got, whereas many of the folks who'd signed up to speak on Volcano Heights (which was last on the agenda) gave up and went home to bed.

This is a tough call for the Council, who care about fairness for concerned citizens... and don't mind a little expression now and again, either.

I feel for Geraldine. Like I said, I kind of have a soft spot for her radical ramblings and free spiritness. But if, as she says in the Trib article, the Council meetings are just "charades," she might consider that they could better embody actual democracy if more of the regular folks who come to speak out about something were actually able to be heard on the issue they care about.

Personal responsibility, Geraldine... the government's, the citizenry, mine, and yours, too.