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Government efficiency through technology

Evanston Plan Commissioners say they want to streamline the review of new development projects.

Here are two modest suggestions about how they could do that.

Take a number

Now ServingThere’s nothing more excruciating in the current process than listening to the commission chair mangle people’s names as he tries to decipher their handwriting on a sign-up sheet. And then there’s the long wait as speakers amble over to the podium.

If you’ve ever been to a bakery you’ve seen the solution.

Have would-be speakers take a number at the entry to the Council Chambers, and call them by number on one of those illuminated "Now serving" boards. Everyone would automatically know when they were up next and should move the on-deck zone behind the podium.

Use a timer

Countdown timerWhy should speakers have to guess when they’re running out of time? Why should the chair have to interrupt a speaker’s composure with a verbal reminder that time is almost up?

Mount a countdown timer facing the speakers’ podium. Let speakers see for themselves how much time they’ve got left.

But let’s be gentle — no gong should sound when time runs out.

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