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The council meeting last Tuesday night was a good example of non-democratic action. The members stated that they had not read letters or e-mails or answered phone calls in order not to be influenced. I had always assumed that in a democracy the people should have a voice and that it was the job of elected officials to listen.
But the council decided that they were the decider – like someone else we know? They refused to acknowledge their original mistake in not following the County Master Plan – that the area around Fuller Lodge and the Library was to be preserved as a historical and cultural area and to be “green, vital, comfortable and safe.” They refused to allow new evidence and ignored the inconsistencies of the P&Z report. They also ignored the wishes of Fuller Lodge, the library, senior center and the signatures of over 500 residents protesting the location.
It will be interesting to find out the cost of maintenance and how hours, lighting, noise and use of helmets will be regulated. And if police are prepared to provide full-time surveillance. To compare the proposed skate park to a plaza is too ridiculous to even consider. The county lawyer even mentioned the skaters going up and off the benches. Is that comfortable and safe?
If the council wants to show their integrity and be responsible as representatives of the community they should initiate a referendum and let the public decide. In recent years there were two referendums – one passed and one failed. In this controversy, involving a half-million dollars and permanent impact, the decision should not be made by seven individuals but by all residents. Then, what ever way is chosen, it could be accepted by all.
It should be noted that only Nona Bowman offered other options as a compromise. Congratulations and thanks to her, to Morrie Pongrantz and to the Hanlons for all their time and work to preserve the center of town as envisioned in the Master Plan.