The Saratoga Sun -

Public input should be welcomed

 


Editor,

Town meetings have been the shining examples of democracy in action since colonial times.

Towns the size of Saratoga are the perfect place for the ideal form of democracy to take root and flourish, as few representatives are actually needed for such small populations centers to function in a more democratic fashion.

In a thriving democracy, town council members should be subject to and responsive to the will of the people. The more the people can directly vote or have their opinions heard on town matters, the more free and democratic the government.

In towns the size of Saratoga, that have meeting places where hundreds can gather to be heard, voice opinions and even vote directly on issues before the town, it is disheartening to realize that an elected but small minority, though chosen at the polls, can monopolize the conversations, set the agenda, and make all the decisions.

Public input should not only be sought without written notice, but should be welcomed and public input should be a large part, if not the final word, in the decision making process.

There need be no secret meetings held behind closed doors in a local government. There are no confidential or top secret agendas going on in local politics that make closed door meetings a necessity.

In a reply editorial on Feb. 6, 2013, Mayor Zeiger wrote: “Items from the public are a courtesy extended by the council to those attending the meeting.” While that might be so according to present town ordinance, it seems to me to be a step in the wrong direction.

If council members are not prepared for a comment or question, surely they can say so and revisit the topic at a later date. In a more perfect world, ‘items from the public’ should never be considered a mere courtesy extended to the many from the minority.

Ken Finton

Arvada, Colorado

 

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