T: Antioch Council Members Want Less Debating D: Tuesday, May 11, 1999 C: (c) 1999 San Francisco Chronicle URL: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1999/05/11/MNR2CO1.DTL
Antioch -- Saying that they desire more orderly meetings, two members of the City Council are trying to cut the length of time residents or council members can debate items on the agenda.
The proposal from Councilmen Don Freitas and Jim Davis would reduce the period of public comment from five minutes to three minutes per agenda item.
City Manager Mike Ramsey, who noted that a recent discussion about the Renaissance Faire moving to Antioch lasted until 1:40 a.m., said the new rules are intended to ``expedite'' meetings. He said the new rules do not violate people's right to speak at meetings, protected by the state's open meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act.
Resident Larry Howard said city officials are trying to quash people's right to comment on city business.
``You can't tell people to go home because you're tired of hearing what they have to say,'' said Howard, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the City Council in November.
In other matters, the council will discuss a tobacco-free youth ordinance whose goal is to limit smoking at events popular with youth -- such as the Contra Costa County Fair -- to designated areas outside the event.