On November 6, in a 5-1 vote, San Bernardino City Council elected to eliminate speaking time limits during city council meetings.
City Manager Teri Ledoux said, “On February 6, 2019, the Mayor and City Council adopted Resolution No. 2019-23, Amending the Rules on Decorum of City Council Meetings to Set Forth Time Limits for Elected Official Comments and Deliberation.”
The recommended time limits were set at five minutes per council member.
“The people here elected us to speak our minds and have a robust discourse on the issues facing the city. Initially, I voted to limit ourselves to five minutes. I’m willing to admit that I made a mistake and that’s why I brought this item back up,” shared Councilman Theodore Sanchez.
Although Sanchez originally voted for the time constraints, he said he feels that city issues, especially important issues should not be constrained.
“I hope the councilmembers can understand that we can only truly vet out the entirety of issues at hand if we have robust conversation that is not limited to five minutes per councilmember. So today I am asking council to vote to resend that five minute rule,” concluded Sanchez.
Councilman Figueroa was displeased with the item being a topic on the agenda.
“This issue is quite frustrating to me because our city is currently dealing with students almost getting hit by vehicles, churches getting broken into, homeless issues, public safety issues and many other issues in the city and this item is a priority of city council at this time? We’re using staff time to discuss time limits when we should be focusing our time and efforts on solving serious issues in the city,” Figueroa said.
Like Sanchez, Councilmember Sandra Ibarra also had second thoughts regarding the item.
“I, too, voted for the time limits earlier in the year. As you all know I don’t really use the five minutes. The only thing I have requested publicly is that I am allowed to speak when I try to get your attention,” said Ibarra.
“If we are going to have a robust conversation I ask that we do not cut each other off like at the last meeting. If I have questions regarding a contract to city staff, I want to be able to ask these questions for the audience watching at home. So today I will be voting to remove the time limits,” concluded Ibarra.
A motion was made by Sanchez and a second was made by Councilman Fred Shorett to eliminate the five minute speaking time allocation. For more information, visit http://www.ci.san-bernardino.ca.us/.