Cut the chatter, please

Supervisors need to rein in public hearings

Speaking of the Board of Supervisors and its recent 5 1/2-hour marathon, add us to the list of those calling for the board to rein in public hearings. To be blunt, they take too damned long.

We realize the supervisors want to get the public’s opinions about the developments, ordinances and whatnot to be voted on, and we appreciate that they are loathe to limit people’s opportunities to speak. But let’s face it: Some folks don’t know when to shut up. They get up to that lectern, feel the glow of being in the spotlight and the center of the supervisors’ attention, and don’t want to stop.

The Chico City Council solved this problem years ago, when it added a stoplight meter to the dais limiting speakers to three minutes. When the red light comes on, they’re asked to stop. If a council member wants to hear more, he or she can ask a question of the speaker.

It’s a good system. It encourages speakers to be precise, allows flexibility when council members believe it’s needed, and goes a long way toward shortening the length of public hearings. We urge the supervisors to use a stoplight at their meetings.