Democrats on the council were upset that they were not given an opportunity to comment on the budget as a whole when the topic was up for discussion. After Councilman Warren Levy offered his remarks, Republican Robert Riley abruptly stopped all debate on the budget by using a parliamentary maneuver entitled "call the question"
“calling the question” when done properly should be a rare occurrence. If debate has dragged on longer than you feel is really warranted, you can “call the question,” at which time the chair has to immediately ask those assembled to vote to determine whether or not debate should be cut off or continue. The motion to call the question is itself not debatable. If two-thirds of those voting agree that the discussion should have died some time ago, they will support the call. Then, and only then, will the vote be taken on the question itself.
The problem with this procedure is that it's been abused over the years by Republicans on the council in an effort NOT to stop long debates but to stop any debate from happening on any topic (former Majority Leader/xenophobe/hate-monger Pauline bASSo has a LONG track record of pulling this stunt).
Good bye bASSo, hello Robert Riley...
In stopping anyone from speaking out against the hidden details of the budget, Riley, after giving a long-winded rant in praise of the budget, moved to call the question, and with all the Republicans on the council voting on approval of the move, future comments on the budget were squashed.
...in other words, with Riley's shameless move, the tradition of abusing this parliamentary procedure (and silencing the opposition) is kept alive and well.
Way to go Rob!
Watch and witness one of the dirtiest tricks in the rubber-stamp majority's arsenal...
After the meeting, an outraged Tom Saadi spoke with me about the Republicans squashing people's opportunity to speak out on the budget.
More on this later...