June during several packed council meetings when citizens were denied the right to speak.
The editorial in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram seems to have a lot of holes. THE PEOPLE making comments noticed. They point out the Texas Open Meetings Act law and the right citizens have to speak. (Are speaker time limits not outlined in City Charters? )
People usually end up addressing council in person, when their phone calls and emails go unanswered. I can personally attest to this, along with several others, as well.
TOMA (Texas Open Meeting Act) treats public hearings differently from regular agenda items. State law basically says the public must be given the opportunity to speak at a public hearing. 0 minutes is NOT an opportunity to speak. 10 seconds, as the last speaker was allocated after 19 min and 50 sec of other speakers, is NOT an opportunity to speak. TOMA has been violated.
It ain't Cluck's town. It belongs to the citizens. The "leaders" may want to listen.
But his responsibility does not end there. His decisions can't be arbitrary, and of course he should not use the power of the chair to steer the outcome of the debate.
Cluck is open to criticism because his decision to limit speakers' time seems to have evolved in an ad hoc manner during the past year. The tipping point came in June during public hearings on the Hike and Bike Master Plan and Thoroughfare Development Plan.
The discussion was heated, there were large crowds and council members appeared to be eager to get the issue behind them. Cluck limited public comments to a total of 20 minutes from each side. With the large crowd heavily tilted against the plans, some of the opponents didn't get their chance at the microphone.
Cluck can also be criticized for lack of consistency. Sometimes people get two minutes, sometimes three. It is unreasonable to expect any speaker to plan an effective presentation without knowing beforehand exactly how much time will be available.