LETTER: More SeaTac Public Comment
(Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to the SeaTac City Council with a copy to the Highline Times.)
There is nothing wrong with having public comment during study sessions as proposed by Council member Fernald. While I understand the council is trying to be efficient, between the Study Session and the RCM the issue connection, train of thought if you will, is lost.
Further when discussion of Public Comment in the Study Session allowed no Public Comment on the issue seems a little odd. Most people do not attend both the Study Sessions and RCM’s and the connect between the issue in the Study Session and the RCM is lost. I was hoping this would at least go to an Agenda Bill in the RCM. Actually it may not have to even be that formal. A person in the audience can simply raise their hand and comment/input allowed after being recognized by the chair. I think comment would be rare in any case.
While Public Comment is allowed in 3 places in the RCM, the placement of where the comments are allowed reduce the efficacy. It is my opinion that Public Comment should be restored under Unfinished Business and initiated during Action Items and eliminated under the Consent Agenda since it has already been voted on and any Public Comments have no effect. The reasoning is that instilling comments during these periods are where the council is not in consensus and where input from the Public would have the best outcome for the Citizens where they can provide additional information/arguments that may sway a close decision. It would be in everyone's best interest.
Further, during the initial Public Comment in the RCM it is stated the Council cannot respond and refers items to staff. I think the Council could use some flexibility in that area and Council members have responded to commenters on occasion during this period. I have mentioned this before and still do not see consistency in this area.
Thank you for your service to our City.