On Friday April 5th at approximately 4PM the La Mesa City Clerk issued a notice that the April 9 4PM City Council Meeting was cancelled due to "a lack of agenda items." We find this curious! For one regular agenda item, the open public comments portion of every meeting, the City has no way to measure interest outside of actually providing this vital forum. It seems here that because the elected officials could not come up with their own items to discuss, then the public is to be denied their rightful and just opportunity to openly bring forward items or issues of their concern? Is the attitude of elected officials such that if they have nothing they believe worthy of a public meeting, then no one else has anything worthy of a public meeting? Or is it that the citizens must wait until elected officials think a public meeting is necessary? If the elected officials decide again in two weeks they have nothing to discuss, will the meeting again be cancelled? While probably unlikely could some future elected officials cancel meetings saying they have no business just to avoid the public forum? Is there a rule on how many meetings the City Council may cancel?
Our view is that the regularly scheduled open public forum, where any and all citizens have the right to public "redress of grievances," is in fact a necessary and non-negotiable agenda item that should not be cast aside because elected officials have no particular business of their own. Part of the job of public officials is to hold these meetings. Whether they be four minutes or four hours long makes no difference.
Some might say that the cost of holding a public meeting is not worth it under these circumstances. Is the convenience of public officials or claimed budgetary considerations to be made superior to open and transparent government business or to the regularly scheduled opportunity of citizens to publicly speak their mind to those who serve them?
So even if no citizen steps to the podium to address the body of elected officials during non-agenda open comments, should regularly scheduled La Mesa City Council meeting should be cancelled for lack of official agenda items?
Maybe a topic for the council to address the next time they do meet?