75ES3358 4x5 @300 Res

Controversial issues come in all shapes and sizes, with the latest focus on the methods and options for trash removal in our community and the definition of public input. Thursday’s Examiner “Our Opinion” column suggested that “It is simply not good enough [sic] tell them to fill out comments cards and, trust us, your input, will be taken into account”. Permanently recording, by written word, the input of the residents of Blue Springs could, in my humble opinion, be considered superior to the spoken word. Sixty-nine residents completed comment cards and gave detailed responses to the questions before them. In this context, by definition input is a statement that expresses a personal opinion or belief or adds information and a statement is a communication (oral or written) setting forth particulars or facts.

The editorial writer suggests that we should have sat through “a couple of hours of grief” because it is part of our job. Frankly, I would never consider communicating with my constituents “grief”. In this instance, there were simply too many people to allow everyone the opportunity to speak in the time available. Chairman Lyle Shaver made a wise decision to insure everyone that wished to share their input was given the opportunity to provide their statements. I sincerely appreciate the residents who took the time to provide us with their detailed comments and recommendations, along with the other four Councilmen who attended and interacted with the residents prior to and immediately following the meeting.

Chairman Shaver began the meeting with an explanation of how public input would be received due to the large number of people attending. What is interesting was the total absence of objection to his approach. Not even a murmur went through the crowd. Normally, if disappointment or disgruntlement were occurring, it would be fairly apparent. Instead, the crowd listened intently to the presentation and immediately following, began completing the comment cards, giving their input in written statements. Following the presentation, many stayed afterward to talk with the councilmen and members of the taskforce one on one or in small groups.

Many people I communicated with were upset about the false and/or misleading information they had heard or received. Once we had discussed their initial concerns and began discussing facts, the message was clear: the residents of Blue Springs are satisfied with the current method of trash hauling in our city and want it to remain the same.

Monday evening, the City Council received the recommendations from the taskforce. The five council members present listened to the input of our residents and agreed. The current system works for Blue Springs. We were not distracted by the misinformation or misdirection that was published, and focused on what was important to our residents.

I am a firm believer that anything worth debating should be debated with facts. Then, and only then, can we focus on and arrive at a consensus. The process works when we allow it to follow through to its proper conclusion.