Tim Niles is a founding member of Livable Raleigh and has been a resident of Raleigh for over 30 years.
At the April 4, 2023 City Council meeting he delivered these public comments:
At your last meeting the mayor asked for clarification of the public asking for council to be held to their Code of Conduct.
Your Code of Conduct says this:
Public meetings can be an unnerving experience for some people as they are appearing in an unfamiliar setting for something that is important to them. It’s important to treat every person with these courtesies:
- Be welcoming to speakers no matter their point of view.
- Be an active listener. The respectful thing is to pay attention.
- Avoid debate and argument with the public. It is never appropriate to challenge a speaker.
I read the data collected by the Engagement Board and found these sample comments:
1. The mayor has been overwhelmingly disrespectful to citizens who take the time to speak up, and that doesn’t help anyone.
2. Mayor Baldwin can stop her routine condescension towards anyone who speaks out or disagrees with her.
3. If any councilor responds to a speaker, the speaker should be allowed to respond back. Often, Mayor Baldwin claims the speaker is incorrect but refuses to allow the speaker to respond to her accusation.
(Recently she accused a speaker at a public hearing of “moving the goalposts” and the speaker had no way to correct the record.)
4. Council should remain present and focused on citizens who have taken the time to be heard. It is disrespectful to see Council members on their phones or talking to one another when a citizen before them has endeavored so hard to be there.
5. Disallow the Mayor and councilors from having private conversations during the meeting.
Many times Baldwin and Knight whispered comments to one another while holding up a piece of paper and covering their microphone to shield their comments from being heard.
All representatives at the council table should make their comments publicly. This is a public forum and it may be against the law to hide what you’re saying to one another.
So, in response to your question Mayor Baldwin, Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee!
On another topic, I was disappointed this afternoon to hear Mayor Baldwin direct the chair of the Human Relations Commission to add more language to his work plan for the protection of the LGBTQ+ community.
At the same time the mayor and this council have done NOTHING to respond to the legislature’s current attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.
In February Durham City Council passed a resolution declaring support for the LGBTQ+ community and decrying the hateful bills advancing in the legislature.
Yet you sit here in silence while asking the Human Relations Commission to do the work you refuse to do for yourselves.
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