Avalos looks to wake up sleepy question time by bringing in the public

Courtesy PhotoSupervisor John Avalos wants to bring the public in to participate in question time.

Supervisor John Avalos is going straight to the people in an effort to inject excitement into the monthly question time sessions with Mayor Ed Lee.

“I’ve been a bit underwhelmed with QT so I thought I’d mix it up and troll for QT from my FB friends,” Avalos wrote on his Facebook page. “Please submit QT questions — serious ones or not — for my staff and me to choose from.”

Since question time began in April 2011 it has mostly been viewed as boring, if not a waste of time, due to rules governing the sessions. But calls for changing those rules did not come until supervisors themselves stopped participating in the exercise. On Sept. 11, Lee was asked only one question. That led Supervisor David Campos to announce that he planned to come up with new rules.

In the meantime, Avalos said he is turning to the public because it is “the one thing I think I can do in terms of trying to make question time a little bit more exciting.”

In November 2010, voters approved Proposition C, which required a monthly Q&A with the mayor, but the rules were left to the board and mayor. They agreed that prewritten questions must be submitted the previous Wednesday by noon. Questions are alternately submitted by supervisors from odd-numbered and even-numbered districts.

Questions coming into Avalos so far include: “Ask him what measures the city is taking to protect ourselves from another Dot Bomb?” and “Ask him when he is giong to show us a little PERSONALITY. Willie Brown, Gaven Newsom – you had to love them or hate them but at least you knew them. If the mayor knocked on my door right now he would have to introduce himself. Light a fire under him, John!”

Question time was conceived when Gavin Newsom was mayor by his nemesis, then-Supervisor Chris Daly, as progressives such as Daly wanted to force a dialogue between the executive and legislative branches of city government.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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