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Emails not the best way to debate the city hall project plan
Nov 17, 2016 | 1833 views | 0 0 comments | 230 230 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

It is hard, maybe impossible, to know how many agendas are being addressed in this Bountiful Plaza/ new City Hall action. For instance, thinking back to almost two decades that I was following Bountiful’s redevelopment process, I do not remember the council having any “open house” meetings on an issue. Because I was attending nearly all the planning commission, city council and redevelopment board meetings, I heard about lots of issues—swimming lessons at a private residence pool, pigeons, new zoning ordinances and a series on relocating the liquor store. And like the more recent meeting on the deer problem a few years ago, all had citizens lining up to give their input.

Periodically they would be requested to get closer to the microphone. Always, as I remember, we were asked to state our names and on a few occasions our addresses. For most meetings, a sign-in or roll sheet was passed around. So I was frankly astounded when on the 25th of October one resident concerned about the city hall issue was so grudgingly and impatiently allowed to address the council then told to sit down.

I am not “online,” so they won’t be getting an email from me. Thinking about those earlier “open house” meetings, I seriously doubt that any of the comments were recorded verbatim. The few people who turned in the city’s comment cards most likely did not write whole paragraphs—most being a few phrases or maybe a sentence. Because we are so constantly coached to think positively, I doubt that more than single digits were critical with any depth.

The net result is that now the city is on record as stifling the resident input. There wasn’t anyone barring people from entering, so it was technically a public meeting but a bankrupt one compared with past events. With no microphone, I attempted to “project” my voice and wound up flubbing it a little. My intent was to point out, ala some of the current election furor, that emails sometimes mysteriously disappear. The old method of public input was surer.


Jack Billings


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