So Sup. Jane Kim isn't sure Question Time is useful. And the press and some other board members think that, to quote Sup. John Avalos, it's "deadening."
Well, there's a reason for that -- the mayor doesn't like the idea of appearing in an unscripted forum with board members, where he could face tough questions he doesn't expect and engage in some real debate. And led by Board President David Chiu, the supervisors intentionally created a system that guarantees nothing valuable will happen.
The board sets the rules for Question Time. It's in the law. And the mayor has to follow those rules.
The whole idea, when Sup. Chris Daly first brought this up, was to mandate that the chief executive interact with the board -- and to provide an opportunity for the supervisors to engage in public discussion and debate with the occupant of an office that under Mayors Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom had become increasinly imperious.
Lee's nowhere near as bad -- but still, what Daly envisioned, and what the voters approved, was an open forum. Instead, we got a farce, a pre-scripted scene where the supervisors submit questions in advance, the mayor reads from a prepared answer, and there's no follow-up or back-and-forth.
Yeah, it's boring. No, it's not useless. It's just broken, because the supervisors didn't have the guts to put into practice what the voters wanted. It's simple: Change the rules. Get rid of the requirement that questions be sumitted in advance. Let the supervisors ask, challenge, debate, follow up. That would be a public service.
And the idea that the mayor can't handle a few unscripted questions is insulting. Lee handles press conferences just fine. And I suspect the supes would be no worse than those wild, unpredictable hordes in the City Hall press corps.
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