Item 4a - Citizen Engagement Opportunities for Official Public Hearings During the Colorado Stay-at-Home Order
Comments & Feedback
I believe that during the shut down that NO decisions be made that effect the long term development of Wheat Ridge--nothing is that important. I believe that study sessions every Monday of each month the city is shut down would be beneficial. A lot of thoughtful discussions can be made during study sessions among council members, but NO long term decisions by Planning, URA, or Council should be made. I believe all decisions effecting how the city is managed during this shut down time should be made by Council members and NOT by staff. Please let the citizens have as great an opportunity to have a voice in citywide, long-term, decisions as any other party involved. Thank you04/05/2020 3:01 pm
After several false starts, this is where I landed, I hope this is the correct place to post my comments.
● Please, for every item on the agenda, listen to citizens AND hear what they are saying. (This applies to the City Staff andCity Council.)
Best example: the election results for 2E — 2/3 of the voters turned down the Upham development. Basically, voters were saying that they don’t want density in their neighborhoods. R-2 and R-1 lots must NOT be rezoned to allow for increased density.
● The Colorado Constitution grants citizens the right to protest. That right needs to be respected by the City.
It is not fair, maybe it’s illegal, to pass an ordinance when circumstances make it impossible for citizens to exercise their rights. (i.e., It’s not possible to collect signatures when we’re under social distancing and stay-at-home orders.)
● The City cannot conduct a fair public hearing when the options (or which there are few) rely on technology. This is especially problematic since these methods are new and are not familiar to the majority of residents.
● The City needs to listen to all voices, but it’s important to distinguish between WR residents and land owners vs outside voices that want to influence what’s going on in our City.
(e.g., When developers get friends to speak in their support, that should not influence a decision.)
● Please, when there’s an issue before the council, use a decision making models that includes identifying alternatives and discusinng procs and cons of each alternative.
(e.g. Localworks: This is one option for spending ______ dollars. What are the advantages of doing so? What are the disadvantages? Are there other ways to meet the same purpose? What other ways could the City spend that money? — And what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?)
A mock meeting is an interesting idea, but it’s not a way that I learn, and the timing isn’t convenient for me, so I won’t be checking in. I wonder how many people will respond. (I would guess that the people who are already accessing the City happenings are the ones who are most likely to ‘attend.’ This isn’t adequate for connecting with a new audience.)
Thank You for considering this input.04/06/2020 11:25 am
I am hopeful that City Council will NOT place contentious items on its agenda until meetings can once again be held in person at council chambers. While the electronic meeting program certainly represents a step forward in allowing for citizen participation in meetings, it is not yet "debugged" as evidenced by last week's meeting. The right of citizens to fully participate in our government is paramount to a free and civil society. In the meantime, regular city business can be undertaken electronically, with citizens participating electronically in writing, or by calling into the meetings. Zoning matters, and any other quasi-judicial matters, should be postponed until either the electronic system is fully operational or until council can again meet in person. I would also suggest that the electronic meetings have a city computer employee available during the session, so that expert help is available whenever glitches occur.
On another note, I hope that in the future council does not appoint members of city staff to establish committees, or to make decisions regarding the city's business. The business of government is certainly made more difficult because of the current pandemic, but council members are elected by our citizens to represent our city, and governing during tough times is a part of what council is elected to do. It is what our councilors signed up for by campaigning for elected office. City staff certainly has a large and important part in day to day city functions; however, I see no need to empower staff to appoint committees, decide agendas or make fiscal decisions. These responsibilities belong to city council.04/06/2020 11:33 am
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