by Jack Jasper
The town has always said that it values public input. This has long been questioned by people who have spoken to or written to the council and basically received no response.
Now we have a council decision to move the public comment section of their meetings from the first part of their meetings to the last. This shows how little value they really put on public opinion. They know that by doing this they will greatly discourage input about subjects that can be of an important nature to the general public. While they haven't completely eliminated them they surely have put them on a low flame back burner where they will get less exposure.
This section of the meeting has not caused major problems all through the years but, all of a sudden, they want to quiet down a nonexistent unwelcome crowd. The real reason is that a majority of council members do not want to allow any comments that might adversely affect an agenda that generally does not include any of the long neglected needs of the average resident.
The dictatorship displayed by a few is very evident in this stop to deter free speech. many veterans have fought to preserve our freedoms, but at least one has decided it's a thorn in his political side and he will circumvent it for his own special purpose with the help of his followers. What a shame! The egotistical objectives of a few have led to subsidizing some private industry with public tax money. Economic development is important but should not be the primary focus of local government and should not siphon off all the funding for citizens' needs, like it is here. We have at least one, or more agencies working full-time on E.D. and they should be doing it and bringing it to the council to approve or disapprove without any public subsidies.
The main focus of this local government should be the maintenance and improvement of a failing infrastructure to benefit the neglected quality of life. A citizen-friendly government would promote a much more capatable society.
Another example about the fate of citizen input is a simple, common-sense petition with 1476 signatures that asks the town to deny providing water for subdivisions only, until our water problem is resolved. This is more signatures than the number of voters it took to elect our mayor! Comments about this petition by officials are ludicrous and it seems no action will be taken. It appears to be dead in the water.
This is all about citizen input being put out.