If there's a lesson from June's meetings of the East Baton Rouge Metro Council, it's that sitting through four hours of public hearings and contentious votes still doesn't guarantee the council will have time to hear from everyone and make decisions about the issues before it.
Both the June 14 and June 28 Metro Council meetings ended with numerous agenda items not being taken up and instead being pushed over to the next meeting, regardless of how many people showed up to address the items.
Metro Council meetings start at 4 p.m. and are required by law to end at 8 p.m. unless council members extend the meeting times. But efforts to extend both of the meetings were unsuccessful.
Contentious public hearings over controversies at the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging ate up more than two hours June 14. And a public hearing over banning smoking in casinos and bars took up more than two hours June 28. That left two hours at each meeting to approve contracts, change orders, hold public hearings on other items and take care of other business on the agenda — but it has not been enough to get the work done.
The push to ban smoking in Baton Rouge's bars and casinos died and was resurrected within th…
Twice in a row now, the Metro Council has run out of time before receiving a report on the state of health care at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, after privatizing the services there last year.
And the Metro Council also has not managed to find the time to receive reports from EMS about the 9-1-1 call on the night that a Baton Rouge Police Department officer shot and killed Alton Sterling, or the status of an investigation into an officer who killed him.
Though those items have not been taken up yet, Arthur "Silky Slim" Reed has made his desire to speak about them well-known. He flipped off council members June 14 and was asked to leave. On June 28, he accused the council of "pussyfooting around" and not handling the Alton Sterling situation before being escorted out.