In Emily Opilo’s piece from Saturday, Allentown City Council VP demonstrates what seems to be an exercise in missing the point:
“O’Connell acknowledged that last week’s meeting got out of hand. But past precedent dictates that bills are not discussed until they are assigned to a committee, he said.
“We lost control,” O’Connell said. “We have to be more in charge, but it is what it is. Rules are rules. Rules have to apply and would be best to have respect and courtesy.””
With all due respect and courtesy, respect and courtesy for your constituents demand that an issue like this go on the ballot. Respect and courtesy demand that you suspend rules based on arcane, stifling, tradition, and allow the public to speak. You did not lose control of that meeting. You lost the respect of the assembled citizens because, as a Council, you opted to uphold an unwritten tradition when asked, in the name of courtesy, respect, and good governance, 1) of you had the power to suspend such and 2) if you would.
The answer is not more control from Council. Council’s penchant for control is precisely the problem.