Friday, November 30, 2007

Metro's Beat the Clock

I get that yesterday's meeting was long. And I get that speaker's speaking for a longer time than one minute per comment would have only made it longer, but I do have to say I was irked by Metro's own version of Beat the Clock that every speaker had to get through.

By cutting speakers off in mid-sentence, chiding translators for going over the two minute limit given to foreign speakers, and generally seeming more concerned about holding everyone to a time limit than hearing their point; Chairwoman O'Connor does Metro and the public a disservice.

How to fix it? Simple. Kill the giant overhead clock which often started before speakers began to speak (only Damien Goodmon called them on it, standing there repeating, "I haven't started speaking yet as the clocked ticked away until it was reset), and have a small buzzer go off. Let the speaker finish his sentence without rushing through a sentence asquicklyasthespeakercan.

Generally, our elected aristocracy should at least have the decorum to treat us like adults. Metro is a government organization, and since this is a Democracy the views of the peasants have to count for something.


Justin said...

I wonder how the giant clock came into existence. I am sure there was some event that caused it to be put into place, but you are correct, there had to be a better way to deal; with it than a clock and a buzzer. My guess is that there were a few folks who would go to the mike and just blather on and on,and as usual the government took the route of punishing everyone for the sins of the few because it was more fair.

Fairness frequently leads to punishing the innocent rather than having the guts to actually interact with and explain to the guilty that they are the problem, at least where politicians are concerned.

calwatch said...

As usual, you can blame the BRU for Bogarting the meetings originally, and for bringing so many people to affect the turnout. Most other public meetings in the County (SCAG, County Board of Supervisors, LA City Council) are three minutes. Most of the Governance Councils are three minutes as well. The unfortunate fact is that the meetings drag on long enough with all of the bickering and grandstanding without public comment.

The County Board of Supervisors has an unique system where you get three minutes combined on any item you wish to speak on. At the MTA, one person may get up for ten or more different items, plus the all-purpose public comment at the end. I think the Board's system should be used because most people who go there are there on one or two issues and this would be a net positive for them, while those who want to speak on 20 different issues would then have to either focus or spend 10 seconds on each one.