A small turnout greeted the downtown councilor and city staff for a public meeting this week to discuss waterfront development and traffic issues. We know residents care about these issues – more than a 100 people have attended each of our last 2 meetings – so what gives?
Two thoughts come to mind. First, the meeting was poorly publicized at the last minute – a recurring theme at City Hall. Most of us only learned days before about the meeting, held Wed. Nov. 25, and a number of people heard about it from an email we circulated. Turnout would have been even lower without our efforts to spread the word. The city needs to do a better job.
City Talks, But Doesn’t Listen
Second, and this is more likely, residents have heard this song and dance before. These public meetings are mostly about residents listening to city officials defend their plans, rather than an opportunity for city officials to listen to the views of residents. The format is mostly question and answer – we ask, they answer – and there’s virtually no opportunity for dialogue and debate.