CATHEDRAL CITY – In the wake of public comments that Mayor Stan Henry referred to as “sad” and Councilmember Mark Carnevale deemed an “embarrassment “ to the city, the City Council on Wednesday is poised to review the Rules of Decorum for Members of the Public at Public Meetings.
The City Council is scheduled to review the Rules of Decorum during its Study Session at 5:30 p.m. Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pettis has asked the item be placed on agenda.
“The public participation policy has been in effect for a number of years, but we decided to discuss it again, strengthen it if necessary, and really begin to implement it,” Pettis told Uken Report.
The Mayor told Uken Report that the City Council has reviewed its policies, approved the policy for commissioners, and wanted to make sure the policy dealing with the public speaking at City Council meetings is also in line.
“It is always good to have reminders on how we should work together and respect each other’s viewpoints when addressing the City Council.”
Normally, no action is taken on Study Session items; however, the City Council reserves the right to give specific policy direction and take specific action as necessary. Presentations will be limited to 10 minutes unless other provisions are made in advance.
Public Comment is limited to 3 minutes per person.
Schoolchildren learn about decorum at an early age. It is using appropriate behavior, conduct, speech, and dress. It is about treating one another with dignity and respect.
The impetus for a decorum review also seems to be, at least in part, the result of a resident who used public comments to paint a certain businessman in Cathedral City in an unfavorable light, “He should not be in front of children. … He should not be around people,” the resident charged. “He should not be around children at all.”
The volatile comments were made at one public meeting and a trio of people turned up at public comments to rehash it.
Uken Report directly asked the Mayor if it was OK for a resident to speak in this manner, Henry responded emphatically.
“NO, it is never OK! How do we stop it? I would hope everyone who speaks at a Council meeting would use some civility in their choice of speech.”
At the Sept. 11 meeting, Henry seemed exasperated that seeds of discord were again being sewn during public comments.
“I think that speaks to anybody and everybody that speaks at this Council meeting,”” Henry said. “It’s not just one person; it’s every one of you. We’ve been trying to deal with that, but you guys can’t get off the podium to stop going back and forth.”
Thus, the review of Rules of Decorum for members of the public.