Normally I am never in a position to do this because we are outright polar opposites with regard to the decisions council makes, but today I have to give a huge-ass ROCK ON and name tag to Wylie City Councilman Rick White and Mayor Pro Tem Red Byboth. At the last council meeting, I thought their comments on the request for a timer to keep citizen comments in line, was spot on.
Personally I hate the idea of a clock or timer. I understand the need for a 3 minute rule, but as Rick White so poignantly stated he was opposed to it because, “We’re here to listen to the people.” He went on to say that they are often nervous and it can be intimidating.
Proving that point was the citizen speaker who had come to council during citizen non-agenda participation and was visibly an audibly shaken. It took her a little while to get to a point where she could speak as she battled a bad case of nerves. Time wasted were a clock ticking down.
I’ve been there. I remember the first time I addressed council. I told them I was nervous but most of them ignored that statement, rather focusing on the fact I introduced myself as a Wylie Tea Party member. Once I said that, they only heard, “She’s an effing biatch” in their brains. My message was lost on them after that. However despite that, I know what it is like to be so nervous you have a difficult time gaining your composure.
In my opinion, White is right. The stalling and time it takes until a citizen can move beyond it is wasted time and a 3 minute clock is only going to stifle the real message in those cases. White said it was “Rude and the timer is like a guillotine, when your time is up, it’s up and we are done with you.” I have to agree with that assessment. After all, we elected the Council and Mayor and we expect to be able to have our voices heard. Often when I’ve composed something to address Council, I have to leave out some pertinent information so as to hit my points within the allotted 3 minutes. I am especially cognizant of this because I am positive I will be one of the unlucky ones told to wrap it up right at 3 minutes because I am not one of Council’s pets.
Councilwoman Spillyards was for consistency but opposed to the City purchasing any equipment. Oh for God’s sake, I hope the City doesn’t go out and buy stuff because that is just ludicrous.
Mayor Pro Tem Red Byboth stated that people go over the 3 minutes, “not that often and it is not that encumbering on us. We can deal with it.” He feels that the responsibility should be shouldered by Mayor Hogue who is the spokesperson for the City and that fact should be, “adequate in this situation.” Referring to lines of people coming to speak to council, he stated that Dallas and Plano were bigger but we don’t have that here in Wylie. In my opinion, he’s right. Rick White stated that we don’t often have lines of people come address council and that when it does happen, “It’s our job.” He is also right.
Normally I agree with the Wylie conservatives but this time I am opposed. The only comeback that the conservatives on council had was to invoke ‘consistency’. I get that and all, but 3 minutes is not always enough time to get a full point across. Council knows this because interestingly, they have allowed other citizens address them longer than the 3 minutes. Does council pick and choose who makes the extra clock time? Absolutely.
All in all at the end of all this ridiculous dribble, I found it to be an absolute waste of a work session. Damn them, it was a waste of my makeup and some hairspray too. When all was said and done, Byboth and White stated they didn’t want a clock to keep citizens timely and the rest of council said they did. Sheesh. I suppose we’ll be getting assigned seats in the audience next. Sign me up for row ‘F’ Seat 1. Yeah, you can pretty much guess why.