Tuesday morning report, March 8

Five things to know this Tuesday morning: 

1.) The City Council is considering changing the way public comment is delivered at city council meetings. 

Under current rules, members of the public are entitled five minutes to address the council on any item on the consent agenda. There is a separate public comment period where residents can address items not listed on the agenda. 

Under this new proposal, the public would receive 5 minutes flat to address the council, including consent items and non-agenda topics. 

Warning: Rant coming.

This change in public comment rules is in response to one particular gadfly that feels the need to comment incoherently on nearly every item on the council agenda. It's brutal.

But you know what? It's his right. As elected representatives, it's the responsibility of council members to listen to their constituents, no matter how inane and pointless. Amending the Downey Municipal Code to stifle the speech of constituents, especially when it's in response to a single individual, is an overreaction and offensive.

The City Council already routinely skips over the non-agenda public comment period, often times forcing residents to wait until 9 or 10 p.m. to address their council representatives. Is that right? How about the council move their allotted time for announcements to the end of the agenda?

Sorry for the rant, but I get very passionate about freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to petition their local government; as long as their comments are not threatening or slanderous, let them talk.

2.) Alex Gaytan, whom I'm convinced is not human, will receive Mayor Alex Saab's Distinguished Citizen Award at tonight's meeting. 

Gaytan is an advisor to the Downey High School KIWIN's, a teen service club that does incredible things in the community.

3.) The City Council tonight will continue discussions on a proposed fireworks show in celebration of Downey's 60th year. 

A 4 1/2-hour festival on July 4, with food trucks, carnival games and live entertainment would cost an estimated $98,422. Costs could be reduced by cutting down the festival time and reducing the number of live performers, or by having it on July 2.

4.) Save the date: Downey Adult School's second annual golf tournament will take place May 23 at the Rio Hondo Golf Club. 

Entry fee is $125 per person, and includes a round of golf, cart, lunch and dinner. Contact Mariana Pacheco at mpacheco@das.edu for more details. 

5.) Fresh Griller, a restaurant serving custom bowls, wraps and salads, will open at the Promenade this month. 

“We are thrilled to be opening in Downey, California,” said Anand Gala, founder and CEO of Fresh Griller. “Downey is a vibrant city, with a strong focus on family, fun and community; qualities that we share as core philosophies of our company.”

Fresh Griller has one other location in Fullerton.