Sunnyside residents have an opportunity to state their objections about any council member taking part in a public hearing and should not be intimidated by anyone on the dais, or in the audience, when exercising their right.

When concerned residents took part in the special meeting regarding the proposed Marijuana Control Ordinance on June 6 and publicly voiced their objections, there was a level of contentiousness inside the Law and Justice Center’s Municipal Court — also used for the City Council chambers.

Prior to commencing the public hearing, the mayor read aloud the standard meeting disclosure for the audience, requesting their objections to any of the council members taking part in the meeting and to come forward.

Citizens stepped up to the microphone lectern and stated their objections for the record. This is not a debate or a conversation to be engaged upon by anyone but the person speaking to the record.

Council members are expected to sit at the dais in a manner that reflects a quorum of mutual respect for the public’s participation in contributing to the meeting process.

The public is called upon to demonstrate their respect when the Mayor asked the council if they had any conflicts of interest and hearing none, the public hearing was opened.

The role of a public hearing is for council to receive voter testimony about the issues and listen to opinions expressed by their constituents.

The public’s involvement in municipal government makes the City of Sunnyside a better place for everyone and should be encouraged —not disrespected.

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