Damn. It's tough to be an idealist in this town.
Last Friday's Clowncil
session was another new low in the suppression
of public input. This city's budget is a big topic,
and an important topic to those lucky/unlucky enough to live in the City of Angels. Last Friday, a lot of concerned Angelenos
-- concerned constituents
-- showed up dutifully to give their input before the full Clowncil's
deliberations on the Mayor's budget.
Folks from the Harbor area, folks from the Valley, folks from Northeast took time from their jobs to hustle themselves downtown and engage City government
. Democracy in action - WhooHoo
Said same commonfolks were then forced to sit through 2.5 hours of glee club presentations because there is no way of knowing just how long this weekly waste of time will last. Around 12:30pm, when all the glee was finally wrung from chambers, actual City business began.
With Dennis Zine
presiding, general comments on non-agenda items went first. Speakers including Clowncil
institution Zuma Dogg
were given the standard 2 minutes to expound. Zuma
used his democratic right to go after Clowncil
fee waivers (go get'em Zuma!)
while the Channel 35/36 cameraman was obviously highly amused by The Dogg's
The next item was the public hearing on the City budget - probably the most important item on the entire agenda. Zine then unceremoniously ordered public comment reduced to 1 minute.
There's a big difference between one and two minutes in public comment. If you have anything to say other than "Thank you sir! May I have another?", one minute doesn't cut it.
Before comment was allowed to begin, Bitter Bernie
actually stood up and 'splained
to the public that if they were there to talk about Park Rangers,
they shouldn't bother because it had been handled. His attitude was that of a school teacher talking down to little children; his tone and body language implied threat.
As the public attempted to make their many varied points about a variety of topics in sixty seconds or less, City Clowncil-kiddies ate lunch, chatted with parties unknown, left the room altogether, text'd parties unknown, or exchanged goofy faces with one another. A scene reminiscent of squirming school children just before recess that left no doubt Bitter Bernie had been talking down to the wrong group.
So that's it. The pretense of City Democracy disappearing into the ether in sixty seconds. I know... I know. "SO WHAT'S NEW !!?!"
Nothing, and that's the sad part.
Labels: Bitter Bernie, city of los angeles budget, dennis zine, public comment, zuma dogg