Skating with Condescension

The skate park suffered a defeat (for now). The Bountiful City Council voted 3-2 against the skate park site.

This occurred after an, apparently, well attended meeting where opponents (mostly near the proposed site, I gather), made their views known.

Sounds like a good demonstration of public involvement but the Bountiful Mayor apparently didn’t appreciate this outpouring of civic responsibility (from the article):

The mayor himself made some of the most adamant comments. He mentioned that only one person at Tuesday’s meeting was present when the council approved the budget for the skate park, though there was plenty of information about it.

“The reason you’re not informed is your fault,” Joe Johnson said. “We do know what makes a successful park.

“The reason you’re here tonight is because it’s in your neighborhood,” said Johnson. “I find it hard: ‘It’s OK, but not where I live.’”

One attendee noted that the Mayor raised his voice and his mannerisms and tone was very condescending.

While I’m sure it’s frustrating to have a public monkey wrench thrown in after a lot of work, it is not uncommon. As a matter of fact, often, the public pressure can (and has) stopped projects/policies after they’ve been approved. Ultimately, our political systems were designed for the public to hold the trump card no matter when the decision will be (or was) made.

Further, the argument that these people weren’t there from the start is disingenuous. While the idea has been around for a few years, looking back even at my blog, you’ll notice that the new site location wasn’t chosen until after September 11th. Affected residents did, indeed, respond in a timely manner.

I would also hope that elected officials everywhere realize that the public is slow to respond and, often, not as informed as they (the public) would like. Most do their best, but family responsibilities and work considerations (especially when your work doesn’t involve political positions) typically take 66% of time. The other 34% is mostly spent sleeping. It takes people a fair amount of time to get informed and then adjust their busy schedules to react. Frustrating? Yes. Reality. Yes.

Anyway, the battle may be over, but the war may not be won given Councilman Pitt’s statement: “Time and time again, people are for it. It’s just a matter of where,”.

Sounds like the council could be hearing a few more last minute comments…

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