“It reminded me of George Orwell’s famous scene from ‘Animal Farm’ about how all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”
Members of Seattle’s City Council seem to have forgotten that they are servants of the public. During a recent public hearing, a man wanted to make a statement. The open contempt the members of the council showed to this man was astounding.
We recently ran a post featuring a news special titled “Seattle is Dying.” Maybe this is part of the reason why.
Jason Rantz of MyNorthwest has details:
Voter delivers devastating takedown of Seattle Council’s disinterest in listening to the public
Public comment periods at any council meeting tend to be a mixed bag of professional activists and mentally unstable people showing up to yell.
But every once and awhile you get someone who hopes to earnestly discuss an issue that’s important to them and others. When that person comes, you expect a council to at least put down their phones for 120 seconds and show some modicum of respect, even if the person shows up frequently.
In a video spreading on Facebook, a man is shown at a March 11 public comment period to discuss the state of our Democracy, but he didn’t get a chance to make his comments.
He was instantly ignored by a disinterested council. That disturbed him.
The man asked the council to actually look at him while he was speaking. Instead of paying attention, Councilwoman Debora Juarez scolds the man for wasting his 120 seconds while others, like Kshama Sawant and Lorena Gonzalez were swiping and typing on their cell phones, not caring what the man had to say. He’s not a professional activist bussed in to back some union-driven agenda; he’s not a donor to a campaign. He is just a Seattle voter and, in this city, these voices don’t matter.
“It’s real discouraging to come up here and see all the heads down, it’s like…,” the man said before being interrupted by Juarez telling him “…you’re on a two minute timer here, so let’s go.” For a moment, Councilmember Mike O’Brien looked up from his phone.
The man makes the point that when Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) recently spoke to the council, she was given unlimited time and that the council members all appeared very interested in hearing what she had to say.
“It reminded me of George Orwell’s famous scene from ‘Animal Farm’ about how all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others and that’s how I feel like I’m being treated now, just because I was kind of asking for your attention, like I noticed you all very attentive to Ms. Jaypal last week. And I immediately got a hostile response back from you. I don’t understand that.”
All this man was asking for was for the members of the council to give him the respect of at least looking like they were paying attention to him as he spoke, and they couldn’t be bothered.
At the 58 second mark, when he mentions “the state of our democracy,” a sigh of exasperation can be heard.
Watch the entire exchange:
The video has gone viral on Facebook and other platforms. The council must have received an earful of criticism.
Q13 FOX reached out to the council for comment and received this response from council member M. Lorena González:
“Listening and learning from our constituents during public comment is an important part of my responsibility as an elected official. I apologize to the people of Seattle who believe we missed the mark on March 11. As a councilmember who represents the entire city, I regularly meet with Seattle residents on issues that matter to them. One of the best aspects of public service is my personal contacts with neighbors at community meetings, on the bus, at the grocery store and with those who come to City Hall to provide meaningful public comment. Receiving public comment, verbal or written, or having sidewalk conversations with constituents is a fundamental part of the democratic process.”
This council has repeatedly demonstrated through their actions exactly what they think of their constituents.
They just want to do what they want to do, and the public is an annoying obstacle to that. They want the people to sit down and shut up.
The people of Seattle need to take their city back.
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