Hijacking Council Meetings
In a Facebook post (or more accurately, rant) that we will be sharing with you shortly, Chico’s Mayor writes, “The issue of physical and emotional harm result from over the top criticism from disgruntled employees that have hijacked the Business from the Floor portion of the agenda.” The Mayor makes it very clear in this Facebook rant that the disgruntled employees he mentions are those of us who have created truthmatterschico.com. We will leave the accusation of being disgruntled behind for now and just address the issue of hijacking.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hijack as “1a: to steal by stopping a vehicle on the highway; 1b: to commandeer (a flying airplane) especially by coercing the pilot at gunpoint; 1c: to stop and steal from (a vehicle in transit); 1d: kidnap; 2a: to steal or rob as if by hijacking; and 2b: to subject to extortion or swindling. (reference http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hijack)
The City Council’s webpage describes acceptable conduct for Council meetings (click here for full document) and states that the time allotted to any member of the audience speaking to Council is limited to “no more than three minutes.” It goes on to state that the purpose of Business from the Floor is to allow “A member of the general public [to] address the Council on any matter not appearing on the agenda which is of interest to such person and which is within the jurisdiction of the Council.”
In the About section of this website, we have shared with you that our efforts are a collaboration of three individuals. So, let’s do the math…
Three individuals given a maximum of three minutes to speak equals a maximum of nine minutes of time.
In a meeting scheduled to run from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m., permitting us a total combined time of nine minutes to address our concerns still leaves them 3 hours and 21 minutes to talk about whatever is on their agenda. Nine minutes of a potential 210 minutes equates to roughly 4% of the time scheduled for a meeting that often runs long. In fact, since August 6 when we first made an appearance at Council, we have only taken 18 minutes and 32 seconds (8 minutes and 28 seconds less than allotted time) of a total 12 hours, 20 minutes and 44 seconds meeting time or exactly 2.5%.
We ask you, does this equate to hijacking? Does the fact that we have the potential to take up to 4% of the scheduled Council meeting to tell our truth prohibit anyone else from speaking up during Business from the Floor? Please comment below and let us know whether you believe that their meetings have been hijacked or perhaps something else is afoot.