Re: Mayor Silas White’s letter, Coast Reporter, Jan. 6, in which he responded to several letters addressing controversial decisions by Gibsons’ new council.
We, who in the words of Mayor White, “are expressing discomfort with change,” certainly laud any improvements that lead to increased participation by all in local governing. The question that we, the “discomforted” ask is, “Are the changes going to bring about more open government, or will they prevent citizens from asking questions about the many issues facing us at this time, which may bring “discomfort” to our Town officials?”
The Mayor’s statement that the Ombudsman’s guide for open meetings does not recommend inquiries during meetings is irrelevant because the guide is not concerned with the mechanics of procedure. It is a guide written to encourage local governments to employ more openness and citizen involvement in meetings, – not less – which is certainly the case here.
Mayor White wrote, “This is the platform I was elected on.” We were not able to find his platform anywhere on the web to see if he mentioned council meetings in it but we strongly suspect that the removal of inquiries from meetings was not included.
We close with an excerpt from Mr. White’s inaugural speech given November 01, 2022:
“We need to engage our residents where they’re at, encourage new voices, and cut down on inward-looking and in camera meetings – we need to get out to a larger number of Gibsons residents, bring their input and policy proposals back to council, and build community.”
Hear! Hear! We commend the oratory. Now, if we can put that into practice, some of these questions could be answered at council meetings and we wouldn’t have to keep asking them in the pages of the Coast Reporter.
Just sayin’ is all.