Did you know we have been denied a public comment period during regular City of Pocatello council meetings since early March?
P.A.G.E. emailed Mayor Blad on 07/15/20 asking him to reconsider the decision to remove this agenda item. Covid-19 has created difficulties, but multiple other Idaho cities have demonstrated their commitment to listen to constituents by finding ways to work around the Covid-19 limitations including use of technologies that allow individuals to call into meetings or participate in Zoom meetings. Now that Council meetings are in-person, they permit department heads and representatives from outside groups to present in-person, so why is the public denied this same consideration?
On 07/21/20 Mayor informed us this item would not be included on the agenda until social distancing ends. This is an unacceptable policy. There are a variety of alternatives available and social distancing will likely continue for at least the next 6-12 months.
Email is an important form of communication, but it isn’t comparable to giving verbal public comment in an open meeting face-to-face.
We emailed the City Council to encourage them to join together and to request that this issue be placed on the next City Council agenda since it should be a Council decision.
Providing opportunities for the public to comment or share concerns/questions about government activities is a basic principle and practice. Feedback should be encouraged, not discouraged by unnecessary barriers.