A year after switching the public comment period to the end of their meetings, City Council members have unanimously voted to move the people's opportunity to speak back to the outset of each meeting.
The council took the action Tuesday in response to complaints that it was trying to stifle free speech.
Councilman John Zaragoza described the later public comment period as a "pilot program," but stopped short of saying the experiment had failed.
"This gives the residents the opportunity to say 'thank you' or 'we hate you' and then go home early," he said. "Unfortunately, some of the people abuse [the public comment period], but we should not hinder the process because of a number of individuals."
Zaragoza was referring to a few activists who address the council on almost every issue.
Indeed, several speakers Tuesday urged the council to move the comment period to the start of meetings--even though the panel had already indicated that it would vote to do just that.