The Saratoga Sun -

Forest Service goes on placation


Last week you may have read the Saratoga Sun piece on the proposed road decommissions. In the article, District Ranger Melanie Fullman was quoted as saying, “I just don’t find those big meetings, which tend to get out of control to be very useful, ... I’m trying to make the most of my time.”

Perhaps you heard the subsequent interview the local radio station did with Fullman the following day. If you did, then you would have heard the apparent disdain Fullman has for public meetings. In the radio interview she actually admits that although she “hates to use the term,” she is simply placating the people of the Platte River Valley.

Fullman says she finds one-on-one discussions to be more productive, but what it seems like she is really saying is that she considers discussing the issues in a public forum to be a monumental waste and an unnecessary burden.

To me this is a disturbing mindset that public officials have seem to have adopted, not just in her position, but much higher up the chain . They just don’t care anymore. It seems to be the prevailing attitude at almost every level of government that our opinion, the public’s opinion, is of little to no value to them.

To be fair, the real problem here isn’t Fullman, who will likely get a promotion from her superiors for dealing with this whole fracas, because Fullman is simply the caboose on this incapacity train. A system that has become increasingly apathetic and frankly deaf to the voice of the people.

Western civilization is based on the idea of the public forum. The public forum is what differentiates a free thinking democratic society from one of dictatorship and fascism. The notion of a public official having the attitude that public meetings are a waste of time should be anathema to our way of life, but unfortunately it seems that is no longer the case. Our own indifference with the process is also to blame.

The factors involved with the road decommissions reaches far above Fullman’s position. While the public should let their concerns and frustrations be known to her, the real problem exists at the federal level of funding. How can Fullman be expected to do her job when we won’t speak just as loudly to those who approve her budget and are ultimately responsible for looking after the interests of our community? As the old saying goes, “the fish stinks from the head down” but when it comes to the democratic process we all have a duty to look in the mirror first before we rant about the way we are being governed. In this case we should all see a big smelly fish-head staring back at us.


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