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Dec 18, 2017

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Rob Pelletier

Living in a city that has suffered through this very problem, the point needs to be made that the major culprits here are kooks, cranks, and conspiracists, particularly the ones with an anti-government fixation. They tend to show up to public meetings to harangue and grandstand, even filming themselves for their local cable shows or YouTube channel. They and their followers, (who, like the instigators, often don't even live in the community) show up to essentially hold the council and other attendees captive while they go on and on and on with their crackpot accusations and denunciations. Result: ordinary (read:sane) citizens eventually give up in disgust and leave, and the actual business either never gets done or is delayed until in the early morning hours, meaning a one- or two-hour meeting ends up going on all night. It basically becomes a battle between the council, the citizens, and the kooks as to who can hold out the longest.

That's what's behind the drive to regain some measure of control over meetings. It's mainly to ensure that the goals of the meeting are met, i.e. agenda issues are discussed and decisions are made. Secondarily, to ensure that actual citizens of the community also have a chance to be heard. Third, to somehow still permit even the non-local kooks and crackpots to speak - but within reasonable constraints.

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  • All of the statements, opinions, and views expressed on this site by Sally Jo Sorensen are solely her own, save when she attributes them to other sources.

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    Sorensen, editor and proprietor of Bluestem Prairie, serves clients in the business and nonprofit sectors. While progressive in outlook, she does not caucus with any political party.

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