Here’s to showing up

Turnout at City Hall’s first budget crisis town hall gathering Monday was dismal, and we noted it in a story this week.

Afterward, this paper twice opined that the public needs to get more involved.

Well, sounds like many decided to do that last night. Got word that some 80 people piled in for the second meeting, hosted by City Councilman Paul Canepa in the Mable Barron Elementary School multipurpose room.

And city spokeswoman Connie Cochran said less than half of those in attendance were city employees, who often make up the bulk of audiences at such gatherings.

Canepa gave me a brief recap today. He said that many comments directed animosity at public employees and their pay and benefits, which Canepa said bothered him a bit. The budget deficit, he said, “is not employees’ fault.”

Some people suggested bankruptcy, firing and re-hiring all of City Hall and trying to get labor contracts to expire at the same time, Canepa said. The Q&A session got heated at times, he said.

Overall, though, Canepa said there were 90 minutes of feedback and constructive criticism from the public. “There was a lot of good that came out of it,” he said. “A lot of good questions.”

If you missed last night’s meeting, there are more opportunities in the coming weeks.

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