Letters to the Editor

'John Q. Public' shouldn't be ignored

The recent (Aug. 6) front-page story, "Council meeting speakers galled," and editorial, "Citizens have right to be heard, but not to monopolize" (Aug. 11), were of some interest. I served several years on a school board; six years on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board; and four years on a local community services district board.

After four or five years, I began to wonder, as I listened to speaker after speaker, why were they there? It gradually became apparent that there were three distinct kinds of speakers:

First, there are the "hired guns" (consultants and lawyers) who are being paid to present someone's viewpoint. I often wondered where that "someone" was.

Then there are what us older folks once called "gadflies," but now are known as "activists." They always have opinions on many things and they claim to speak for the majority, but somehow they never run for office. Sometimes they are well-versed on a subject, but generally not.

Finally there is "John Q. Public." They interest me the most. When John or Sally Q. speaks, I wake up.

I really get upset when I look into the audience and see several John and Sally Q's waiting to be heard, but their time is being taken by gadflies and consultants.

The Bee editorial was right on: Citizens have a right to be heard and not to be subjected to long waits due to repetitious monologues.