First there was the digital “shot clock,” meant to limit people who want to address the Chicago City Council to three minutes each. Enforced in tandem with a 30-minute public comment period, it typically allows 10 citizens to speak their minds at the beginning of a council meeting, right after the invocation.
Now there are new rules — starting with the Sept. 18 meeting — designed to prevent the same few people from monopolizing those 30 minutes.
No names have been mentioned, but I’m guessing they’d include a certain 77-year-old “concerned citizen” and the Chicago police union vice president that Mayor Lori Lightfoot called “that FOP clown.”
Under current rules, the frequent fliers get to speak regularly because they come early and sign up. First in, first up. Now, hopefuls can arrive any time from 9 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. and drop their slips into a bowl, from which the names will be drawn at random. That way, others will get a shot at the microphone.
Here’s a better idea: Allow more than 30 minutes for public comment. Stop acting like citizen input is something to be endured. A public body that represents 2.7 million people can make time for more than 10 voices per month. Let the people speak.