The decision of a surprised councilor is made well before the vote

Posted: 02/17/2022 17:00:24 Modified: 02/17/2022 17:00:13 I was surprised to read in the Tuesday Gazette that Northampton Councilo...

Posted: 02/17/2022 17:00:24

Modified: 02/17/2022 17:00:13

I was surprised to read in the Tuesday Gazette that Northampton Councilor Marissa Elkins publicly proclaimed how she will vote on the dashcam issue (“The city urgently needs reliable dashcams», February 15). His announcement is made well before the actual vote, well before the Finance Committee’s work is completed, before more public comment, and even before a proposed oversight forum.

This was not the first time that Councilor Elkins has reported that her decision-making process was “closed to business.” At a recent city council meeting, she said, “I know how I’m going to vote on this,” and since it came up when she was talking excitedly about oversight, it’s no mystery what she meant.

I want to believe that city councilors try to have an open mind as they listen to public input, gain new information, and hear the experience of a cross section of the community. I am not naive. I know there may be other councilors whose decision may be made on one side or the other, but at least they don’t announce their decision while people are still talking about the issue.

I have to wonder, when exactly was Councilman Elkins’ decision made? Was this when she heard about the new surveillance? Was there a moment when she said to herself, “I know I have strong opinions on the subject, but I’m also going to keep an open mind while listening to what other people are saying.” Maybe I can learn something from others on this issue. I suppose not.

Instead, her announcements tell residents and those affected that her own personal experience is all she needs. Our opinions, our perspective and our experience, our knowledge and our ideas are not necessary or, apparently, even taken into account. Maybe his editorial isn’t inappropriate, but it’s a scary way to close the dialogue before it’s actually time to close the dialogue. And a bold move from a new at-large elected councilwoman who might want to at least give the impression that she’s interested in engaging with the public in this first major public debate.

I don’t understand why an adviser would take such a strong public stance on a controversial issue long before it was needed. Why not stay open, Councilor Elkins? Why not listen to us? You will have your vote soon enough.

Catherine M.vsNally


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Newsrust - US Top News: The decision of a surprised councilor is made well before the vote
The decision of a surprised councilor is made well before the vote
Newsrust - US Top News
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