Public Input Often a Sham
Citizens attend town hall meetings giving the elected person a piece of their mind about votes they have taken or positions they have promoted to no avail.
In Gwinnett County, in recent years, we have watched with dismay as the county commission forced a garbage debacle on the citizens. Word is now coming to light that the predicted windfall of money that was to come with the building of the minor league ballpark near the Mall of Georgia has not been the great success that was predicted. Of course, many people will say the economy turned sour, and fewer people have extra money for entertainment at sporting events as a reason for the shortfall. Whatever the reason, the citizens of Gwinnett are now stuck with the bill that only promises to go higher in the next several years.
Added to these two failing events listed above, we now see signals that the airport issue is going to be decided no matter what the people have to say about it. Consultants, experts, and business people all stand in line as cheerleaders for the expansion of Briscoe Field, and their voice is being heard over the protest of the people who live near the airport. Could we stop for just a moment and suppose that all of these experts are correct and this will be the greatest windfall of money to ever come into Gwinnett County? At what price will that happen?
During the congressional recess, Congressmen and Senators host town hall meetings to hear from the people they are elected to represent in Washington. Local town councils and county commission bodies have, as part of their agenda, a time to hear from the people at their meetings. When decisions are made, however, it seems that which is suggested by the people is lost somewhere in a deep hole entirely covered in mud that cannot be seen from the surface.
In each new election cycle, people who run for office make a promise to keep an open door for their constituents and to listen to everything the people want to have done. However, somewhere between election night and the meeting of the council or commission, the newly elected person forgets the promises made during the campaign.
As soon as a person is elected, there is a gaggle of special interest groups who bombard them with ideas of how to govern (with their pet project at the top of the list). Citizens attend town hall meetings giving the elected person a piece of their mind about votes they have taken or positions they have promoted to no avail.
If the indications we are receiving now come to fruition, we can conclude already that Gwinnett County commissioners are not listening to the people who will be hurt by this airport, but they are listening to the special interest groups once again. With what we are seeing in Washington and other levels of government, why do they even go through the sham of having input from the people? From where I stand, it is dishonest that politicians ask for input knowing they are going to do the opposite of what the people have said.