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Public Meetings Need the Public PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Tuesday, 08 August 2000 18:00
The Scott County Community Jail and Alternatives Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday, August 9, from 4:00-5:30 pm at United Neighbors (808 Harrison Street, Davenport—parking lot is just north of 8th Street). The public is welcome to attend and participate in discussion of items on the agenda that include: current jail population, jail population profile, overview of the criminal-justice system in Scott County, progress report of the Court Compliance Office, the Substance Abuse Targeted Capacity Expansion Grant, and more. It is an important discussion for the public to have with jail officials and other concerned citizens. Public safety has been identified as one of the main concerns of our community, and we should show Scott County our support and willingness to participate in efforts to achieve overall community safety. It is also an opportunity to voice our personal concerns and contribute our individual perspectives.

Later in the evening, at 7pm, another public meeting will take place at United Neighbors to discuss the draft version for the revised “Rules of Order” being proposed by Davenport’s City Council. (See page 4 of this Reader issue for a draft of revisions for “Rules of Order” to be discussed at public meeting.) Rule #21 governs the Mayor’s authority to form standing and special committees. There is some debate on the council whether to revise this rule to make the mayor’s appointments to the five committees less flexible in the future. This action is stemming from the mayor’s threat to remove several aldermen who have been “uncommunicative” about the various activities of the committees, more specifically the Community Development Committee. But, supposedly, all that discord has been settled, so the next logical step would be to drop the discussion about changing Rule #21. It would be very “unfriendly” of this council to pursue any further action that would diminish the mayor’s authority in this matter, especially after he extended the olive branch and rescinded his decision to remove or reorganize the Community Development Committee. The public needs to ensure that several members of this particular council get past personal animosities and vindictive motives for directing city business by keeping a close watch and holding them accountable for their actions.

Another important item being discussed relative to the “Rules of Order” is the rule concerning public input during meetings. This is so important that the public really needs to turn out to debate this with the city staff and aldermen who will be present at the discussion. This is our opportunity to let the city know our expectations for how business is conducted at City Hall. Please attend if you can.

Attendance at the meetings, whether they are regular council meetings, committee meetings, or public hearings, acts as a barometer, so to speak, on how the council and staff should prioritize the issues at hand. If the public is absent, it sends a message to our leaders that the issue(s) aren’t very important versus a large public attendance, where the message sent is that the issue(s) matter very much. Support for or against civic issues is critical to creating change. Otherwise, a handful of special interests are getting all the attention because they are always present and accounted for. It is the “squeaky wheel” syndrome at its best…or, worst, depending on who's getting the grease.
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