Vail Daily letter: An inconvenient process
Vail, CO, Colorado
I feel the municipality of Vail is an exceptional town, just as those who live in Minturn, Avon or Eagle feel their town is exceptional. I say this at the risk that some would say my mentioning these other places is an indication that my passion is not real or deep enough.
But my passion is real and deep — having skied on Vail Mountain when it opened in December 1962 and pined to move here until I finally did in 1988.
Today, my passion is about the process of our town government in terms of the sometimes inconvenient aspect of citizen input at council meetings, something that could apply to any local government.
Recently, the Vail Town Council at a work session discussed how to manage the open-ended citizen-input agenda item at its meetings. This was awesome and a real feather in the council’s cap that ideas were aired.
Comments included: limiting speakers to those who live here (which is illegal); identifying “those two individuals” who are problematic (without naming names); suggesting giving a short response to questions on the spot (but without going into a dialogue); using a timer and bell to cut off (perhaps too officious); and responding at the next meeting (sort of misses the point).
Not mentioned was the possibility of someone from the staff or council getting back to the questioner off line. This was actually stated in a guideline brochure handout that used to be available and might be the best option.
But nobody stood up and with a raised, passionate voice to state this type of citizen input should be the red meat, life-blood of our local government –to complement the statistical data derived from some citizen survey.
If somebody takes the time to prepare and then comes to the meeting, having to stand in front of the off-putting lectern, this event should be welcomed with sincere interest and not just the sometimes inconvenient aspect of the agenda.
The same goes for speaking up at one of the subject-specific agenda items and those who take the time to write a letter in the Daily.
The same thanks goes to those who send emails to the council. It would be nice if summary of these could be made known so the public has some idea what others are saying.
So in summary, it would be nice for the council much more often to reply to speakers, or even respond to letter-writers or emailers, with something like: “Hey, that is new and good information we may not have thought of, and it may just change the direction we are going on this topic. …. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.”
Support Local Journalism
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User