Friday, December 31, 2004
Have you ever felt that politicians listen to powerful interests but couldn't care less about the rest of us?
That's how Roger Diamond felt when he appeared before the Los Angeles City Council. The story is described by today's Los Angeles Times. While Diamond was speaking, only two of thirteen council members paid attention. One council member was talking on his cell phone. Two others were having a conversation amongst themselves. Another was strolling about in his Hawaiian shirt (it was Hawaiian day at the council, no kidding!)
So Diamond took the council to court, arguing that his right of due process was being infringed upon. The first court disagreed and threw out his case. But on appeal, Diamond won. The court ruled that the council had a duty to be fair and impartial. The judges said that a key principle of due process is that "he who decides must hear."
I'd rather have voters telling their elected officials how to behave instead of judges. But still, its about time that somebody whipped these pols into line. Too bad that the decision only applies to when the council is acting in a semi-judicial role, like dealing with zoning appeals, and not its regular legislative business.
Links to this post: