To the Editor,
I moved to Warrenton four years ago and did not know a single person in Warren County at the time. We had absolutely no preconceived notions about what to expect here. I have …
To the Editor,
I moved to Warrenton four years ago and did not know a single person in Warren County at the time. We had absolutely no preconceived notions about what to expect here. I have lived in several towns of similar size in six different states, and this is the first place that I have actually felt that I cannot trust that City Hall or the board of aldermen is actually telling us the truth or, at a minimum, the full story on a range of topics.
I felt this way shortly after the overpass construction began, when it became clear that the lofty promises made by City Hall about development were never going to come to fruition, during the Sunnyside urban density subdivision discussion, when the economically illiterate rules for downtown building aesthetics were passed, and again when they changed the rules for downtown events. It all just has an aura of smokescreens and insider deals.
I will be the first to admit that it is possible there is nothing nefarious going on and there is instead just an appearance or perception of impropriety. However, there is no doubt that group think runs rampant in our local government and dissent is met with sarcasm and condescension. There is not a single serving member of the board of aldermen that demonstrates a healthy questioning attitude in board meetings, and everything proposed to the board from the city attorney and city administrator is immediately approved.
Most of the people I meet in this small town have reservations about most new codes or ordinances that have been approved in recent years. Many others that I have never personally met have voiced their opinions directly to the board.
Most recently, when more citizens began to come out to speak at board meetings, the board moved to further limit the amount of time available for public comment. It is unfortunate that there are so many individual dissenters in town but not a single dissenter on the board that is elected to represent us. It is not a recipe for healthy public discourse.
I am sure there are plenty of people in Warrenton that are perfectly happy with the way things currently work. I am not here to suggest that individual wards should necessarily vote out their specific aldermen if they feel like they adequately represent their specific interests. I am here to suggest, however, that it would be extremely useful to get at least one alderman elected to the board that is not afraid to go against the grain of City Hall and other power players in our town. It would greatly increase transparency, and diversity of thought can only help drive to the most effective solutions.
I think the people of Warrenton would be best served to at least consider alternative candidates for the board of aldermen, who can bring new ideas or perspectives and, at a minimum, ask the tough questions that are not currently being asked by the board of aldermen. I would also like to encourage everyone out there that feels they have the time and energy available to commit to the position to consider running in the next election.