by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
The Polk County Commissioners have changed the manner in which they shall receive public comment. This is always an interesting issue for me, as I have yet to find a satisfactory method for letting the people be heard. It has been my sad experience that people who like to dominate meetings normally are not well-equipped with facts, or even standing from a property-rights perspective. If they do have something important to say, there is no time for anybody to do due diligence, because the vote will be taken in a few minutes. If leaders are interested in the message, they have to waive the rules to have some back-and-forth. Often, it feel like open mike at the funny farm. If you disagree with my assessment that schizo-histrionics are attracted to public comment like megalomaniacs are attracted to elective office, please note that I have taken the podium more than most people ever will.
Until further notice, Polk County citizens will get to speak at the beginning of the meeting only, and the three-minute limit for comments has been reinstated after almost a two-year hiatus. Chair Ted Owens, Vice Chair Michael Gage, and Commissioner Tom Pack supported the recent change. In colorful language depicting bewilderment, they all indicated that since the 2012 changes, public comment had become “wild and crazy” or “a zoo.” As Owens said, “We’re here to conduct the county’s and the people’s business. We’re not here to get some personal or political point across.”