Letter to the editor: Suppression of speech in Manhattan Beach
Toward the end of last month's city meeting, council member Janis Allen loudly complained about public comment protocol. She bemoaned the fact that council members cannot argue with the speakers and claimed that public comments are "sometimes not true."
I agree with the first part, but not the second.
Current council gag rules treat public opinion as if it did not exist. The secretary is prohibited by council rules from reporting statements by the public in her minutes.
Public statements are limited to a short period before any issues are broached. The public must be mind readers to speak on issues before they are introduced. Once the issue is known, the public is prohibited from speaking.
This is awkward and counterproductive. But these rules were started by mayor Paul Allen and his wife, councilperson Janis Allen. All previous administrations have welcomed public input. She voted for it and has no right to complain.
As to the truth of my comments, it is a matter of public record. This administration has voted council members an 800 percent pay raise and the mayor an increase of 1,000 percent The mayor's salary jumped from $450 per year to $4,500 per year. Anyone can look it up.