Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Public comment: No questions allowed!
During a meeting of the Lynn Township Board of Supervisors, Resident Ivy knight addressed the Board. She asked, what was the earthmoving activity taking place on a neighboring property owned by Omega Homes, i.e. the proposed Townhomes. The date was June 3, 2004.
Chairman Donald 'Chico' Christ responded. Thou shalt not ask questions during public comment! The public comment period is for comments only!
Though a mere peasant halb-auslander, I chided him. Questions are comments! Mrs. Knight was entitled to ask her question and have it answered in public comment. Such began my drive for greater Government transparency.
Some years later I was elected Supervisor, but I refused to wear Chico's shoes. A public official's respect for the community is shown foremost by answering questions posed by the public, even if the answer is not the answer the person hopes to hear.
Thank you for your comment is not a response. No, it's a slap in the face! Same goes for It's complicated!
So, I tried my best as Supervisor to answer all questions posed by the public, even the rhetorical questions often posed by Glenn Smith. And I did not hide behind the solicitor or engineer. They needed not carry my water.
The same can not be said by the current Board chairman, Justin Smith. Smith wears Chico's shoes!
Fast forward to July 11, 2013. Resident-Candidate Scott Feinour asked Chairman intervener Justin Smith, whether Justin's email was an official campaign letter or a private email? The response was typical.
Scott Feinour: Just for the record, was that a campaign letter, a private email or what was the intended contact in your email because I received it too?
Justin Smith: It was passed to you.
Scott Feinour: I guess the email (header) stuff didn’t get forwarded, that’s how it works?
Justin Smith: That’s how it works.
Scott Feniour: Was that a campaign email or a private email.
Steve Feinour: Who forwarded it to you?
Scott Feinour: Doesn’t matter.
Steve Feinour: It didn’t go to you.
Justin Smith: Is there any additional public comment at this time?
Scott Feinour: You didn’t answer my question.
Justin Smith: I don’t need to answer the question, its public comment.
The Board then entertained a motion to adjourn.
OK, so I'm being picky. It's not my style. Just answer the question, but wait it gets worse.
Last meeting, I asked Smith whether his campaign literature, which said Smith supported land preservation was true given his recent antics against preservation. Resident Ben Garlico joined in the question.
Ben Giralico: I’m curious to know also how a supervisor stands on land preservation because I’m very strongly in favor of land preservation, and I vote. So I wish you would answer that question.
Justin Smith: I’m not going to answer that question at this time.
Ben Garlicio: There is an answer in that, thank you.