Return 'People's Hour' to its proper time

In 2005, then-Mayor Bob Yousefian moved the five-minute portion of oral communications ("The People's Hour"), which was always early in the evening, to the end of council business later at night. The action by Yousefian was to occur only one time. Yousefian and the city were sued by a few members of the public because they thought their Constitutional rights of free speech were being infringed upon. Our current mayor, Frank Quintero, concurred at the time with those council critics who believed that Yousefian had overstepped his bounds.

City ordinance provides that the presiding officer can change the order of the agenda items from time to time. In 2008 then-Mayor John Drayman moved “The People’s Hour” to always be held after the end of city business. Council members Ara Najarian, Frank Quintero and Dave Weaver did not object. A few council critics did object, but were quickly rebuffed.

Since 2008, the “People’s ’ Hour” has been hijacked by every new mayor to the end of council business, sometimes late into the night when the viewing audience has turned off their televisions and council critics’ influence could be lessened or silenced.

Now people act surprised when Weaver or other council members appear tired, bored, uninterested or short-tempered during oral communications.

If our city council members believe Weaver’s embarrassing behavior reflects on them, then council members should censure him.

Will Mayor Quintero move above the fray and act like the peoples’ mayor in restoring his legacy by moving oral communications to the beginning of council meetings and censuring Weaver? Quintero’s actions, not words, would go a long way in rebuffing and fending-off his council critics.

Mike Mohill

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