By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Santa Rosa Mayor Ernesto Olivares has reversed the council’s policy of turning off TV cameras during public comments on issues not on the council meeting agenda.
Olivares said he supported the decision last year to move the comment period to the end of the meeting and turn off the cameras just before the public spoke because the council often had no authority over the comments raised.
Last week, Olivares said he supported keeping the comments at the end of the meeting, but said he was open to revisiting the issue of televising them.
After considering the matter further, Olivares said he had concluded that turning the cameras back on was best.
“I do really appreciate the concerns expressed by the members of the public about transparency and the need for open government here in Santa Rosa,” Olivares said.
Council members Gary Wysocky urged Olivares to consider moving public comment to 3:30 p.m. to give people a set time when they knew they could address the council, instead of waiting until the end of meetings that often run late into the evening.
“I think one of the fundamentals of democracy is being able to address your governing body,” Wysocky said.
Marsha Vas Dupre proposed 4:30 p.m. But Olivares resolved to keep the comments at the end of the meetings.
“At this point I’m comfortable with what we have in place,” he said.