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. 

Please contact the City Council (city.council@pocatello.us) and Mayor (mayor@pocatello.us) and ask them to restore public comment to the meetings. The current council majority believes that, unless they receive volumes of calls/emails on an issue, they are free to ignore criticism. Let them know you are not OK with being denied a public comment period. 
 
Heather Disselkoen,
 
Pocatello for Accountable Government Entities (P.A.G.E.)