TX for your message. A few thoughts and observations come to mind in response to your email.
You mentioned in your email that: “…, there will be a brief presentation by Tim Snyder that just explains the process for the HRP and then doing an ordinance if the HRP passes the legislature, and the highlights of what is actually in the current draft of the HRP. It seems that many people who have written are aware of neither, and it is germane to their testimony, so they should know the basic facts. ”
Since this is a proposal by the BOA, why is the City administration explaining this process? I would expect the makers of the proposal should be explaining the process, including what is in the draft. You stated ..”. It seems that many people who have written are aware of neither, and it is germane to their testimony, so they should know the basic facts. ”
I would then surmise that perhaps the makers of the draft could have done a better job of articulating what is in the draft, if so many people are so unaware or uninformed?
Rather than the City Administration explain the process, I believe a BOA member of the responsible legislative Matters Committee should be responsible to briefly advise the legislative process moving forward to the MA legislature (if and when it does) assuming that the item is not sent back to the Legislative Matters Committee for further discussion.
You (or anyone else!) do not need 15 minutes to explain the HRP process. People will be waiting long enough to testify: Please do not prolong the process. It is also my opinion that the record should be kept open for another week, through the 4/13/18, at a minimum.
As for standing up or raising hands “for or ‘against’ to ‘take the temperature’ of those assembled prior to being heard is a very bad idea, as you are likely to inflame people even more on either side of this extremely volatile issue; Blatantly unfair, in my humble opinion. You and the BOA should not be taking a vote of those present.
It is wise, again in my humble opinion, that you are planning to have folks who are speaking to alternate positions ‘For’ vs. ‘Against’ during the public testimony; Also a good practice to have those speaking identify themselves, with their name and address clearly stated when they come to the podium as they begin their 2 minutes of testimony.I also recommend an automatic count-down timing device, similar to what the Planning/Zoning Boards use, for being accurate with the time limit, so it is visible to the speaker.
With respect to your proposed schedule ..”My expectation is that a vote on the HRP will happen on April 9 or 11,” I would conclude that you appear to be hurrying the process for what you termed a ” Hearing that has been well publicized..<” and one that ” I…have already gotten more emails on this topic than I think anything else in my four years as an Alderman.”
So what is the hurry? You may think it has been well publicized, but many Somerville people, including BOTH renters and long-time taxpayers’, I talk to are just beginning to become aware of this matter. The fact that you have gotten so many emails, should give you pause to examine the item for as long as it is necessary; Sometimes in a democracy, the legislative process may have to move a bit slower that this ambitious schedule you appear to favor; Please take the time to do so.
If there is one thing I learned as an elected official during my career, I would rather spend a little MORE time, than not enough, on such an important issue.
I don’t think that is too much to ask…
John M. ‘Jack’ Connolly
!7 Winslow Ave.
Somerville MA 02144
Homeowner, Small Business Owner