City Council President Tom Smith: Let's try not to use our electronic devices during council sessions; people find it distracting and disrespectful.
Council member Tim Pape: Shut up and quite bothering me while I'm reading my text messages.
That's what he was doing, too. He even seemed amused that, during Smith's request, he got a text from a constituent expressing disapproval of such an unreasonable request:
Tension grew as he questioned Smith's request, wondering if anything and everything that could be considered poor decorum should fall under this request, or just the use of electronic devices.
"I'm just asking for this one element [of decorum]," answered Smith.
"So, if someone sighs because they're tired of someone going on too long, that's a different element of decorum?" Pape challenged.
Well, the difference, if I may, between sighing sarcastically (which Pape happens to be very good at) and other breaches of decorum is not in the degree of rudeness. It's that using electronic devices is a way of saying that whatever is going on at the moment is not worthy of one's full attention. And, guess what, people who can't give up their devices for even a minute tend not to give their full attention to anything. You don't have to look very far in government to see evidence of a whole lot of politicians not paying attention to w whole lot of things. The last thing we need is for a council member to go out of his way to not pay attention.
Turn the damn thing off during the meetings, Tim. Your constituents will give you all the love and adoration you deserve, even if they can't text you right this very instant.