Monday, May 11, 2015

Mayor's Sign Policy Still Not Clear


I asked Mayor McKay a few questions based on his repsonse about signs in Council Chambers. I have had no reply to my follow up questions which are highlighted in red as follows:

Currently, there is no policy in place that either allows or disallows signs being displayed in the gallery. It appears that people can in fact bring signs into the Council Chambers provided they meet with your approval?  Mr. Stearman is the only member of the public who frequently displays signs at our weekly meetings. When he displays a sign or signs that would cause people to become distracted, or feel unsafe, that is where I have to draw the line. It appears you felt that Mr. Stearman's sign was distracting or making people feel unsafe? A sign by it's very nature is intended to draw attention (sign companies depend on it), so that would seem to eliminate all signs, meaning that no signs should be allowed? 
You also seem to imply, that people felt unsafe by Mr. Stearman's holding of the sign? It didn't seem to be threatening from my vantage point. I presume some have stated otherwise? Some of the signs previously displayed by Mr. Stearman have purposely intended to embarrass, ridicule, or taunt members of Council. When a Council member feels intimidated or doesn’t enter debate on a matter because of Mr. Stearman’s signs, that is not helpful to conducting our business. You seem to imply that a city councillor can not concentrate on the business at hand if someone in the gallery has a sign? Again, this would seem to mean that all signs should be banned.

As the Chair of meetings, the Mayor or Acting Mayor, have the responsibility to ensure that each meeting is run smoothly and is free of distractions that may disrupt the business of Council or interfere with someone’s ability to concentrate on who’s speaking. I fully understand the role of the Chair to maintain order in a meeting, and would expect anyone acting in a disruptive manner be asked to cease, or even be removed, but absent those reasons question whether or not the Chair should be allowed to ban a member of the public from expressing themselves through the use of a sign.

During my first six months as Chair my approach to running Council meetings has been to listen to the feedback concerning their functionality and determine if changes to the meetings are warranted. Many members of the public have expressed their concerns with respect to Mr. Stearman’s signs at Council meetings.

Before closing, let me make it very clear, that I invite dialogue with members of the community. If Mr. Stearman wishes to discuss any topic of concern, he’s more than welcome to sit down with me, conversely, sign up as a delegation, or come up to the podium during question period. I encourage conversations with the citizens. I agree, there need be rules perhaps about size, how it is displayed etc. but an outright ban seems over the top.

allvoices

3 comments:

  1. This so-called Mayor has started SIGN-GATE!

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  2. If people dressed up, holding signs and dancing on the busy intersection of Bowen/Northfield are allowed to distract drivers, then I think a guy sitting down with a sign would be fair game too. I mean, really, which one is safer?

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  3. I have often noticed Mr. Stearman's signs during council meetings and am grateful that he puts forth the effort. His signs represent the opinions of many people in our community. Our mayor never complained about the signs, in fact encouraged Mr. Stearman & his sign holding, until he did an about face on his campaign promises and Mr. Stearman called him on it. If you ask me, anyone feeling distracted or uneasy by his signs, must be suffering from a guilty conscience.To them I say, pay attention to your discomfort, and always let your conscience be your guide!

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