Aldermen Limit Public Comment Time At City Hall Meetings
Chicagoans who want to testify at City Council hearings will now be limited to three minutes per agenda item.
Aldermen voted unanimously Wednesday to implement what has occasionally been referred to as the “Blakemore Rule,” after a notorious civilian who speaks at many public meetings -- sometimes multiple times.
George Blakemore ironically missed this vote because he was testifying upstairs at the Cook County Board meeting instead.
Aldermen also dissuaded members of the public from speaking at hearings about topics that aren’t on that day’s agenda, something that has been happening more often recently as aldermen consider how tax increment financing money should be spent.
Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, said public comment can go so long that potential speakers leave City Hall before it is their turn.
“I agree that we should error on more inclusion, but how do you get more people if one person hogs all of the time?” Brookins said.
Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, said he believes the restrictions should be even stricter. Hopkins advocated for an amendment that would create a three-minute maximum per person for the entire meeting, which would limit a speaker to one agenda item.
Lauren Chooljian covers city politics for WBEZ. Follow her @laurenchooljian.