The Denver Post
Denver councilwoman's resolution for public comment tabled
June 6, 2012
A Denver councilwoman looking to give people more say in local government pulled a drafted resolution today to rework it.
Councilwoman Robin Kneich tabled the measure after the Government and Finance Committee did not come to a sound conclusion on the resolution.
"I think there is a simpler way to do this," Councilman Charlie Brown said. "This is too much government."
A date for future discussion hasn't been announced.
Under current law, formal public hearings are only required at zoning meetings. The full council can allow public hearings, but is not required to.
Recent public hearings at full council included discussions about Denver's new law banning outdoor camping and council redistricting.
Kneich said a committee chair now may opt to allow people from the audience to speak at meetings.
Kneich's resolution would add a subsection to the Denver City Council Rules of Procedure that would "encourage" committee chairs to conduct a public comment period for at least 20 minutes.
It stipulates that if a comment period is not set on any bill or resolution, a period will be awarded if Denver residents deliver a petition to the City Council office with at least 20 signatures.
Kneich said that the resolution stemmed from talk with constituents who did not realize the audience may have a chance to speak at meetings.
The surrounding Aurora, Lakewood, Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs all have variations of time set aside for public comment at specific Council meetings.
At the public comment test-run that preceded the meeting, five people signed up to speak for three minutes each on the proposed resolution.
Kevin Abels, the executive director of FRESC, a Denver non-profit, spoke in support of the resolution, touting it as "the best way for residents to really engage in a public forum."
"I think that this proposal also really establishes a level playing field," he said.
Tegan Hanlon: 303-954-1729 or firstname.lastname@example.org