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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sally Clark Signals Change in City Council Public Comment Rules in Response to Sam Bellomio

Posted by on Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Alex Zimmerman, left, and Sam Bellomio at council yesterday. (Thats not a bad screen shot, thats his actual facial expression.)
  • Alex Zimmerman, left, and Sam Bellomio at council yesterday. (That's not a bad screen shot, that's his actual facial expression.)
As I mentioned on Friday, the always entertaining Sam Bellomio got slapped with a two-week ban from public comment after calling Council Member Tim Burgess "a dick" at Thursday's public budget hearing. But yesterday, before the public comment period at the full council meeting, Council President Sally Clark went a step further, announcing that the council is now beginning the process of updating the rules for public testimony—and she specifically called out Bellomio and his frequent compatriot, Alex Zimmerman, as the reason for the change.

Addressing Bellomio and Zimmerman by name, she said they've been dealing with these guys "for many months now," and while Zimmerman shouted something from the audience about "America" and "Nazis," she explained that the council is working with the city clerk to amend the public comment rules. Concerned that disruptive commenters infringe on other people's right to comfortably speak during comment periods and disrupt the council's ability to do business, she said the new rules will govern "repeated noncompliance with council rules for public comment" and set forth specific, predetermined suspension times for repeat offenders.

The exchange itself was an example of why these guys end up being a problem at meetings instead of just kooky anti-government performance artists. Clark joked during Zimmerman's outburst, "That was almost on cue; that was fantastic."

I asked her about the potential rules today—and why she then let them both sign up to speak again, even though she'd told Bellomio he was suspended from doing so. (Bellomio went on to get pissed that she'd used his name and to announce, "This is worse than Nazi Germany!" Zimmerman called the council "banditos.") She said she had realized she didn't want to police the content of anyone's testimony. "I don't like the whole practice of trying to figure out where have they crossed the line with a particular word," she said. The real issue is around conduct that disrupts meetings, and the repetition of that behavior, which is what new rules will address. "I shouldn't get to draw that line on content any more than anyone else," she admitted. "Would I prefer that he not call council members dicks? Yeah, absolutely. Call me crazy." But that's not the real problem. And when it comes to keeping the meeting in order, she has some discretion as council president to prevent disruption; amended rules, which she expects will be finished around the New Year, will spell out exactly what the consequences might be.

And I'll say this: Anyone who makes Stranger staff root wholeheartedly for the city council is pretty damn impressive. Nothing makes the council appear more sympathetic and reasonable than watching 'em patiently and effectively deal with stuff like this.


Comments (12) RSS

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Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 1
Yes, the solution is a decade of Seattle Process. It's so hard to define what a fuckhead is, so we have to put up with this shit instead. Meanwhile, important work is ignored.

And Sally Clark has all the time in the world to get trollled by fuckhead trolls, but no time to pass a simple resolution on Russia's anti-gay policies?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on October 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM · Report this
Sally has plenty of time for givaways for developers. Maybe if she can flush these wingnuts she can flush the criticism of her asinine positions with them. She, Henry Liebman, and Chris Hansen can only hope
Posted by hmmmmm on October 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 3
"....Call me crazy." But that's not the real problem.

That almost certainly is the problem. Mental illness comes in many forms, and in this case the form is Bellomio & Zimmerman. Sure hope SPD has done some checking on these guys re: guns.
Posted by Sir Vic on October 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 6
do these guys have jerbs? an agenda? does gadfly pay well?
Posted by Max Solomon on October 8, 2013 at 4:44 PM · Report this
fletc3her 8
This is why we can't have nice things.
Posted by fletc3her on October 8, 2013 at 5:47 PM · Report this

The junta is crumbling.

Circle the wagons.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on October 8, 2013 at 9:17 PM · Report this
Zimmerman is usually amused and amusing. Bellomio is possibly dangerous.
Posted by sarah70 on October 8, 2013 at 10:18 PM · Report this
sperifera 11
A Sally Clark headline that's not about the lack of an SCC resolution condemning Russia's anti-LGBT laws? What's the world coming to? Why the drop of that hot potato, Stranger staff? The resolution still hasn't happened yet, has it? So she has time to deal with wing-nut boy and his crazy uncle Alex, but not enough time to make that resolution, specifically asked for by a Russian Foreign Service official residing in our city. Or did I miss that?
Posted by sperifera on October 8, 2013 at 11:22 PM · Report this
I can't be the only one imagining that Sawant would be getting up from her seat to deliver a public comment with Zimmerman and Bellomio, and heckle the city council similarly.
Posted by ChefJoe on October 8, 2013 at 11:29 PM · Report this
IndicaDogwalk 13
Regardless of one's opinion about Bellonio (supporting him or dislike), there is reason to be very careful about him. He could erupt into violence or gunplay. He is part Andy Kaufman and part narcissistic bomb-thrower.

He's nuts and wants attention - beware of those types.
Posted by IndicaDogwalk on October 9, 2013 at 2:16 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 14
@ 12, I doubt that you even think that.
Posted by Matt from Denver on October 9, 2013 at 7:13 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 15
@12: Yes, you're the only one who wants that dumb thing to occur.
Posted by undead ayn rand on October 9, 2013 at 7:44 AM · Report this

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