The purpose of having public meetings is so that citizens can communicate with representatives.
The Pierce County Council has historically held public meetings during the day, effectively preventing anyone going to school or anyone who has a job from attending. During my previous terms on the Pierce County Council, my request to hold meetings in the evenings was denied.
I believed then, and I believe now, that government should actively work to encourage participation from the public. The Council holds one in-district meeting in the evenings in each district each year, but I don’t believe that is enough. The regular business of the Pierce County Council needs to be conducted in public, at a time when it is reasonable for our citizens to attend and participate.
In addition, we should do the following:
The county council should schedule in-district meetings for each district at least twice per year, instead of once. This would mean that 25% of council meetings would be held in-district.
When the county council is receiving testimony from the public at council meetings, the public needs to be respected. Council members should focus on the testimony being given, nothing else. Council members should be prohibited from using smartphones or other devices one the dais.
Pierce County Council should schedule regular evening meetings of the full Council and its Committees to increase public access to our government and allow for deeper citizen participation.