When citizens show up to voice their opinions at public hearings and on the “placebo phone” (mayor’s hotline 384-4404) Boise officials are not noted for jumping very high or issuing glowing press releases coated with sugar and spice.
However, after the city spent seventeen grand on a telephone survey it appears folks love the way Mayor Dave Bieter and the city council are addressing problems and planning for the future. It is all in the questions folks!
Truth is, about the only thing Boiseans are really interested in is police and fire protection and neighborhood stations rather than a central police fortification. Both of those issues got ratings in the high 70 percentages.
The GUARDIAN can’t fault the city for at least trying to get some public input about the way our fine town is managed, but how about LISTENING? When the Eastenders told the mayor they didn’t like the idea of a library at the end of Park Center Blvd., their desire was met with explanations of it was only “the view of a small group etc. etc.”
The editor of the GUARDIAN met with the mayor a year ago strongly suggesting a library on Federal Way would better serve the Riverside, Columbia Village, and Vista neighborhoods. The mayor promised to “look into it.” Never happened as far as we know.
Previous councils used to meet randomly in neighborhoods, but that has apparently faded away. The GUARDIAN suggests the council meet at least once in awhile at neighborhood schools and conduct public forums. Warm summer evenings would be a prefect time to do it–even outside. These meetings need to be well publicized and attended by citizens. Rather than conducting any important business outside the chambers, the council can simply ask for folks to step up and talk about what’s on their mind. The key will be to respond positively to the problems and suggestions.
Remember when the cops were going to visit neighborhoods with their command staff in a motor home with prerecorded videos beaming from beneath the awning? Ever try to visit your neighborhood Albertson’s to file a police report? Mostly fluff for the moment and no long term benefit. Citizens need to be taken seriously and treated like they have a brain.
The previous mayor and council spent at least $1,000,000 trying to force a big central police station down our throats. They swore in court that it had to be centralized and the public safety was at stake without a centralized police facility. The new chief seems to favor three area stations and if the survey has any weight, the public agrees.
The big police station was quashed by judge Cheri Copsey when the City tried a finance scam to build it without a vote of the people. Let’s hope they are not conniving to find a way to build three stations without a vote of the people this time around.
The city officials aren’t all bad, they just need some direction.
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