I had the opportunity to be involved in last week’s master plan public participation meeting, and would like to offer a couple comments.
First and foremost, the process was very rushed. A roomful of people were asked to comment on the issues they felt needed to be addressed, for a plan that could shape the future of our town, but the facilitator kept rushing the participants. He came to our table several times, telling us that we needed to “move on.”
Again, this process is supposed to determine a plan upon which our future may be based. We should not be in a hurry.
As I looked around the room, I saw about sixty people, many of whom are the same people one might find in most local government meetings. I mentioned this to an acquaintance, who said he had no idea this was going on. I noted that it was all over the paper, and he conceded that he did not read the Gazette.
Obviously, I chided him for that faux pas, but he did make a valid point: what efforts has the town made to publicize this process? Signs posted around town? Radio and television public service announcements? Notices sent to residents and property/business owners?
No. To which my friend replied, “Perhaps they don’t really want the public to be involved.”
Given the limited number of meetings, and the lack of ongoing public input, I feel he has a point. I hope our “leaders” won’t make the same mistakes they made with the Land Use Plan, leaving the master planning process in the political waste heap.
On another matter, I would like to comment on a few of the statements Mr. Gilbert made in last week’s paper.
Yes, Alan, I support Joel for mayor. He has a tremendous amount of experience on both sides of government, and I believe he can provide a solid foundation for our future that you do not seem quite ready to provide.
That being said, I also have my own opinion, and, regardless of who I support in this race, I still have a right to express it. I know you have not been here long, but those who have can tell you that keeping my thoughts to myself has never been my strongpoint.
Additionally, you referred to my letter as “negative campaigning.” I called into question your statements as an elected representative, and the potential results of such statements. Isn’t that essentially all we have upon which to base our opinions? The things you do in your official capacity are fair game, and do not constitute negative campaigning.
Were I to dig into your personal life, and talk about your past on issues unrelated to government, that would be negative campaigning.
Fortunately, your administration has provided enough fodder to make such negative campaigning unnecessary.
Shawn M. Underwood
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