“How many regular citizens are equal to an individual bringing money to the table?” Question to Ashland Councilors

I ask Ashland City Councilors Jensen, Hyatt, Seffinger and Graham: 

“How big of a money bag do I need to bring to the table for them to give me credibility and suggest a council meeting to discuss my ideas for the city?” 

“How many regular citizens does it take for them to give credence to their opinions and ideas rather than call them a ‘cacophony’ of voices?”

The recent council meeting had an agenda item asking the council to let an individual (offering money to the city) discuss their proposed project with the council. It involved a public/private 20-year lease on the community center. How could this be the first step?

Wouldn’t it be in the public interests to discuss whether or not public properties/services developed over the years should be open to public/private projects? What properties and arrangements would be off-limits and which will be considered? What arrangements should require voters’ approval?

Also, any such arrangements for public/private projects should be subject to a strict bidding process. No one party should taint the process by promoting their ideas as part of a regular council meeting.

When Mayor Akins informed the public about the late posting of the agenda item, many citizens immediately understood the dangerous consequences. They spoke out. Councilor Jensen cast aspersions on their voices. 

I hope the times are over when the City Council or Parks move a project discussion forward without adequate public attention and until it is too late for public input. That strategy was used in the Parks senior center ‘reorganization’ which was a disaster costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars and important senior services.

I thank Mayor Akins who continues to promote transparency and public input on actions vital to the community.

Again I ask the four councilors noted above “How many regular citizens are equal to an individual bringing money to the table?”

Sue Wilson

(not Susan T Wilson of ACES)

Ashland, Oregon