Archive for Wednesday, January 31, 2001

It’s about accountability

January 31, 2001

Citizens of Baldwin. This letter, which is to be published on the eve of the mayoral public forum, is designed to encourage the people of this community to attend this function and observe the candidates so one can make a more informed decision. At this time it is unclear whether the incumbent mayor will participate, whereas the three other candidates have agreed to discuss issues in a public forum. I heartily encourage the mayor to join in this process. Democracy, since its ancient inception, has relied on the open and frank discussion of issues and ideals. To ignore the process is not healthy for the system or the community as a whole.

In last week's interviews of the candidates one mayoral hopeful was quoted as saying that the city council faces no serious questions but has been subjected to undo ridicule. Obviously since I have been the most outspoken opponent of the current administration I am well aware of these comments directed at me. May I say that at times I will seem out spoken, and even to some as radical. Unfortunately this is a misconception, I am a very direct

person who believes in every person's right to speak and to be heard. Many attempts to place a stopper over my opinions have been applied and failed. Fortunately for me the outpouring of support from the community has been tremendous and I will continue to try and bring a more responsible government to our city.

Two weeks ago I placed my platform of the issues that I feel need attention before the people. This week, in light of the forum atmosphere, I would like to expound on the theme of communication. I do not believe that the city has done a good job of communicating with the populous it represents. From the city council meetings where public input is stifled, to evasive or noncommittal answers of our elected officials no coordinated, cohesive attempt at public relations has been made. Doesn't relations with the community fall under the leadership of the mayor and our city administrator? Personally, instead of concentration on securing a reliable means of transportation for our city administrator to LEAVE town. He should focus on communicating with the people in town. This level of communication needs to be improved from the top to the bottom of city hall. A large number of people have vented frustration at the lack of answers and unyielding policy as to utility bills paid into the city hall. City employees and elected city officials are in position to serve the community, not the other way around.

Further, the population is not allowed to participate in the planning or vision of the city of Baldwin. Mentions of plans for the future and "our vision of where we are headed" has been uttered many times from the mayor's state of the city speech to the city administrators letters about the business/recreational park. But does anyone know what the plan is? Has anyone seen a draft of this document? Or is it the ideas of the few in control being forced on the many who pay taxes?

In closing I encourage my fellow citizens to attend the mayoral forum. Bring your questions and listen to the answers that they create. Hold the candidates to the looking glass and observe their plans and how they hope to accomplish them. Some may think I am unduly harsh on the current administration, but I as well as the population of Baldwin are tired of being left out of the information loop. A vote for me will restore the peoples' input into government, and assure that accountability for our actions will prevail.

Ken Hayes
Baldwin City

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