Op/Ed Public Comments

By Gilda Morales

Recently, while browsing through Facebook, I came across one of those posts which was gathering considerable attention and heated responses on a hot issue on July 4th. The topic centered around the lack of an organized fireworks display in the city or county. Blame was being spread around like peanut butter, with local elected officials bearing the brunt of the ire.

The majority of the respondents agreed that the city or the county should budget for a fireworks display, and completely ignore the burn ban that included fireworks, which each entity had passed at the request of the state. Apparently, the fireworks display should also ignore the fact that our local fire department begged that no such display take place. They, better than anyone, knew first hand, after fighting more than 50 grass fires in only two weeks, how dangerous such a display could be.

The back and forth between pro-fireworks display proponents was initially amusing, but quickly grew tiresome when it became evident that probably none of the complainers had ever attended a city council or county commissioners’ court meeting. Both governments allow public comment at their meetings, which is a much better venue than Facebook to air concerns or complaints, and a more effective way to get them addressed.

Maybe the answer lies in making local government meetings more accessible by using what the norm is now—social media and streaming. Maybe then, we can have an informed public who is aware of what is going on in their own community…maybe.


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