Letters to the Editor

Mitchell letter: Public hearings

I admire the way attorney Geoff Wardle was depicted in Sven Berg’s recent story about a public hearing over a downtown ballpark in Boise. A calm demeanor in a public hearing is always welcome. I was not at that neighborhood meeting, but I have been to many other neighborhood meetings and public hearings. No one wants mob rule in any public decision. However, elected officials and public decision-makers must be accountable to the collective will of the public, even when we admire the calm demeanor of an applicant’s attorney in the face of acrimony. In public discourse and in public policy development for the direction of our community, it’s not always whether the law will permit a certain action or whether we admire the presentation of the real estate developer — often the public shows up in collective force to tell the elected representatives that something seems wrong from a gut level. That cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand as merely “fear” over a project; rather, it must be regarded as bona fide opposition, which ought to be honored and respected. A change of course should be considered. That is what representative democracy and public trust require.

William G. Mitchell, Garden City Councilmember, Garden City