Let Fargo Speak! Remind the City Commission about the Importance of Public Comment

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The ability to speak out at town meetings is a time-honored tradition, designed to ensure that members of the public have a meaningful opportunity to be heard before their elected representative officials.

But across the United States, local governing bodies are restricting – and sometimes even halting – public comment in an effort to streamline city business and make their meeting time more productive.

It's happening right here in Fargo, too.

What started off as a review of the commission's draft of new governance policies during the March 4 City Commission meeting quickly turned into a debate about public feedback and when it's appropriate and productive in local government. Some wanted to curtail the public comment period from their meetings altogether!

Now, under a new proposal, Fargo residents wishing to address the commission regarding an item on the agenda will be able to do so during that agenda item instead of at the beginning of the meeting. Those with comments not related to the agenda will have the opportunity to speak at the end of each meeting.

This is a good thing. Public comment at our City Commission meetings enables Fargo residents to address the board as a whole and allows people to be informed and educated about the concerns their neighbors have, too. An email or one-on-one meeting can't do that.

Fargo's voices should never be silenced. Will you contact the City Commission today and tell them to vote yes on this proposal?

Let Fargo Speak - ACLU of North Dakota
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Use the form to send a message to the City Commission.

Access to public meetings and that face-to-face opportunity to talk to our elected officials is an essential feature of local democracy. That's why I'm happy to see that the Fargo City Commission's proposal to change how residents can address our elected officials during public meetings still allows people to speak during regular commission meetings.

Before you vote on the public comment policy on Monday, April 29, please remember this: The business of Fargo's City Commission meetings is the business of Fargo's citizens. As an elected official, you have a responsibility to protect the voice of your constituents – even if you don’t agree with them.

Please don’t silence our voices. Let Fargo Speak!


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