stop watchI think it’s a safe bet to say that the lights at Newton City Hall are going to be on late a lot next month. In addition to working on next year’s budget,  the Land Use committee will begin public hearings on the proposed Austin Street project on June 2 and the Programs and Services committee will hold a public hearing on a proposed leaf blower ordinance on June 10.

Now I’m a big believer in community input and participation — that’s why we started this blog — and I certainly believe that folks on every side of the issue should have a chance to be heard directly before any important vote or decision.

But if you’ve attended any public hearings, you know that participants can be long-winded at times, redundant at others and, often, both.

And that’s my long-winded way of getting to my point, which is to encourage Land Use Chair Marc Laredo and Programs & Services Chair Amy Sangiolo (and all our other committee chairs as well) to run open and fair public hearings (as you always do) but to strictly enforce a time limit on all speakers so you, your colleagues, city employees, reporters and those of us in the audience can get a fair representation of views but also arrive home on the same day that we arrived.

And now I will shut up and sit down.