When you go to a City Council meeting, there is a table right outside the Council’s chambers where people can fill out speaker cards. There is a clearly posted sign on the table saying that speaker cards will not be accepted after 8 PM.
Tuesday night, a resident arrived at the desk at 7:55 with 9 cards in hand representing people who wanted to speak against the smoking ordinance. The cards were not accepted. “It’s too late,” they said. When it was pointed out to them that it was not yet 8 according to official US time (that’s what you’ll see on your cell phones), they shrugged off the complaint and said that the Council’s clock was five minutes fast. Further protests were met with “The cut off is 8. We can’t make exceptions.” No one was asking for an exception. People wanted to speak at the meeting and tried to turn in their cards before the clearly displayed deadline.
Some saw the discrepancy as an attempt to limit public input. I don’t, but I do think that the Council either needs to fix their clock so it runs on the time everyone else uses, or change the sign to read “No speaker cards will be accepted after 7:55 PM.”