It’s Time to Stop Televising Public Input During the City Council Meetings [OPINION]
I believe we've reached the breaking point. I think it's time the Sioux Falls City Council pull the plug on televising the public comment portion of its meetings.
It was funny at first, but now it has become nothing but insulting and embarrassing for EVERYONE.
If you don't know what I'm talking about: before each Sioux Falls City Council meeting there's a time when the public is invited to step up to the microphone and offer input. But thanks to a small group of "bullies," it's gotten to where it's embarrassing.
This past Tuesday night I tuned in only to see a video about the recent train derailment in downtown Sioux Falls, complete with a re-creation using toy trains and ending with a photo of the Three Stooges doing some sort of Nazi salute.
Just weeks prior to that the City Council was forced to sit through a music video put together by one-time Mayoral candidate David Zokaites. He ended up falling short of getting the necessary signatures to get his name placed on the ballot.
Even my wife commented the other night that it's reached the point where something needs to be done. And what's sad is the City Councilors and Mayor aren't even given a chance to respond - they have to sit there and take it.
When this group of citizens first formed, I believe their original intent was to make sure city government was being open and honest - at least, that's what I was led to believe. And I appreciate that. Every government needs someone looking over its shoulder.
Since then though, the group has transformed into a bunch of thugs. Do I agree with everything the City Council and Mayor do? Absolutely not. But everyone deserves to be treated in a civil and adult manner - and that includes the City Council and Mayor.
We're to the point where it's become blatantly obvious that it's now "personal" with this group. They're no longer watchdogs. They'll say and do whatever it takes to publicly humiliate and embarrass the City Council and Mayor.
I have to wonder how many others sitting in the audience are hesitant to even approach the council now for fear they'll be lumped together with (what I call) the whack-a-doos (you can quote me on that). Over time they've become vindictive and downright mean.
I truly believe it's time the City Council consider pulling the plug on the televised portion of public comment. No where is it written that the public input portion of the meeting has to be televised. Turn on the cameras AFTER they're done spewing their hatred.
And let's face it, that's how we got to this point - by putting these one-time "overseers of city government" on television. It's done nothing but inflate their egos to where they've single handily turned the weekly meeting into a plain-and-simple mockery.
If we've reached that point where embarrassing city officials is their sole reason for being, how about we force them to limit their actions to Facebook Live or Twitter's Periscope? It doesn't need to be carried live on the city's cable channel.
Plus, if they feel strongly enough about a particular issue, they can stick around (after public input) and comment during that portion of the meeting where those specific topics are being discussed. Then they can get their face on TV.
My hope is that the new Mayor and City Council decide to pull the plug on this thing which has become nothing but a circus. Hopefully by doing so, this band of thugs can get back to what they originally set out to do - be a watchdog of city government.
PS: The over-under on me and/or my idea being called stupid in the blogging world is ten.
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