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Letting Public Be Heard at Meetings

Demonstrations in the streets are a far cry from complaints voiced in city council meetings. Still, Steubenville City Councilwoman Asantewa Anyabwile is right that in either case, people want to be heard by their elected officials.

Anyabwile made the point during a city council meeting Tuesday, at which she said she wants to discuss a requirement that people need to sign up in advance to make comments and ask questions at council meetings.

The topic comes up periodically, and one thing is clear: Council needs to have some limits on interaction with the public. City officials must deal with a large number of matters during those gatherings, and they have to have some structure to get the work done.

Still, the matter of how to handle the public at council meetings should be revisited. It can’t hurt to think and talk about the challenge again. As Anyabwile put it, “People want respect, people want to be treated fairly and people want to be heard. When they’re not heard, people get upset.”

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