Our View: Columbus (MS) city council strikes another blow against open government

Some concepts are just hard to grasp. Other ideas are easier to absorb. Or at least, they should be. It is apparent after Tuesday's city council meeting our elected leaders struggle to understand a fundamental aspect of the democratic process — the idea of open government.

The council voted, 4-2, Tuesday to amend its citizens input policy, placing repressive, even ridiculous, restrictions on residents' ability to address the council during its meetings. Under the new proposal, anyone wishing to address the council must fill out a form that explains what subject they want to address on the Wednesday before the Tuesday meeting. Citizens are only permitted to address the council three times each year.

The council defended these changes saying that on many occasions, citizens address publicly matters that could be easily resolved by talking to a city department head privately. They also say some citizens abuse the citizens-input portion of the council meetings by addressing the board at almost every meeting, often on topics that have little or nothing to do with city government. Continue>>>