Oh, dear, Adam Hill, who’s now taking a turn as being Chairman of the BOS is apparently about to illustrate one definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. As the Tribune notes, he is asking “ . . . that people be civil and courteous and focus on the issue at hand.” He also “asked speakers to steer clear of personal attacks, rants, threats and slander, adding, ‘I’m not going to tolerate that kind of boorish behavior.”
Let me guess. He was addressing his remarks at people from Los Osos who regularly comment at BOS meetings? Well, good luck with that. As the Tribune reports, Richard Margetson, (who, I believe is actually from Morro Bay? Cayucos? not Los Osos,) once again, (as he had done with Hill’s predecessors who tried the same “civility” speech,) warned Hill to read the Brown Act. Said Margetson,” You really cannot control what’s said.” Added Los Ososian Leon Goldin, “You’re going down the road to all kinds of controversy.”
Ah, waltz me around again, Willie. Dat ol’ Brown Act. Alas. A thorn in every elected official’s side. What the bleep do we do about the bleeping public during public comment? Can’t shut ‘em up. Can’t really censor much of what they say since you’ve got to define all kinds of grey areas that defy definition. How is a strongly held opinion about some issue different from a “rant.” Besides, of course, the old standby: What I have to say is a strongly held opinion. What you have to say, is a rant!
And for the “regular Los Osos speakers,” Hill says they see themselves as victims.
Uh, yeah? I suspect some of these people will be losing their homes because of the Hideous Sewer Project. So, I think the word “victim” pretty well sums that situation up. And considering the, uh, very interesting way this whole “Process” was played then manipulated, the word “angry” certainly comes to mind. So we have a group of Los Ososians who are angry victims who, under the Brown Act, have the right to public comment.
And Hill is asking for “civility?” Let me suggest a different tack. Why not have the Supervisors, instead of sitting stone faced, actually acknowledge a speaker who gets up there and says, “We’re going to lose our home. What do we do?” and answer honestly: “We chose to ignore the promised Design/Build that might have come up with a less expensive system. What we chose and voted on instead, despite all of your “uncivil” pleadings, will likely put a good number of Los Ososians, like yourselves, out of their homes. We don’t know what you should do. We have no answers for you. It’s not our problem any more. We certainly will have staff keep trying to find whatever financial help is out there, and hope for the best. We are very sorry for your troubles, but we can do nothing for you and now it’s time for us to move on. Goodbye and good luck to you.”
Then do what was tried in the past: Set aside a small amount of time, maybe once a week (month?) specifically agendized for Los Osos Sewer Stuff, then if anyone speaks to L.O.S.S. at any other time, they can be hushed up and told to come back at the proper time for that topic.
Other than that, Brown Act still rules and defining “disruption” and ordering ejection via Sheriff will remain a politically tricky option.