Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bellevue City Council doesn’t get it

      In the two months since this newspaper published my guest opinion “Something Rotten in Bellevue,” I have felt an occasional glimmer of hope for the current Bellevue City Council, only to see it quickly dashed.
     A recent glimmer was the council’s decision to appoint a Citizens’ Committee to review the proposed changes in the Bellevue Comprehensive Plan that would accommodate the developers of the proposed Eccles annexation.
     But hope was dashed again. From his “long list” of volunteers, the mayor selected none of the people who had asked for the committee. Apparently, an architect who helped write the original comp plan was “overqualified,” as was a former city alderman and others with a similar background. Experience would be useful in reviewing the plan’s 48 pages, as would the addition of an English major to decipher the convoluted verbiage so that any citizen can read and understand it.
     After making the appointments, the mayor announced that the meetings would be closed to the public, a direct violation of Idaho’s Open Meeting Law. Who advised him to close these public policy deliberations? Fortunately, the next day, legal counsel agreed that the press and public must be allowed to attend. And this council wonders why we question their transparency?
     It’s clear that this council still does not “get it.” The only true hope is to elect aldermen who stand for transparency, for revisiting the proposed Eccles annexation, and who are committed to the best interests of our citizens.
     In November, vote for Bob Leahy, James Stireman and Craig Wolfrom, clear-thinking candidates who will respect the public interest.
Florence K. Blanchard

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