There is the kind of transparency citizens seek and welcome from their government. Examples of such would be open meetings, regular town hall sessions, plentiful opportunities for citizen input through meaningful participation BEFORE the decisions are made and already being acted upon.
The other kind of transparency which seems increasingly common and is most unwelcomed is the transparency of motives and actions which elected officials apparently think we are incapable of seeing through. Examples of this transparency were outlined in http://howcome.md/inquiring-minds-want-to-know/ yesterday such as scheduling work sessions in too small a room and at an inconvenient time to keep attendance down. Another example is the way some Council Members are very transparent during Council Legislative Hearings. They regularly employ the practice of only asking questions of those in support of their bill so that individual can talk favorably for an extended period of time, well beyond the 3 minute limit.
I’d actually planned to follow-up tonight with some of the revelations from last Monday’s Council Work Session dealing with the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) specifically schools, roads, and healthcare. However, it appears that there will be additional work session discussion following the close of the October 2 Legislative Session and therefore NO VOTE will occur Monday. (At least that is what we’ve been led to believe.)
Unfortunately the same is not the case for CB-60 establishing industrial mulching and industrial composting with materials that include the trucking in of food waste and animal mortality. While five hours of the September 25 Work Session was devoted to discussion on CB61/62 for APFO, only 85 minutes was devoted to CB60 despite 2 task forces and citizens activism for 3 and a half years. Of the 85 minutes, 70 minutes were occupied by DPZ’s slide presentation on the proposed amendments and supporting comments from Jeff Danis, who runs the Alpha Ridge mulch facility.
Apparently that presentation by DPZ was the first time Councilmembers Terrasa and Ball were made aware of the proposed amendments. Is there not transparency between the administration and ALL of the Council Members!? Or among the Council members themselves?? (Apparently not, as the same two were also also left out of the loop by the C.E. altering the Columbia TIF to redirect over half of the $90 million funding that was originally allocated to the garage.) But wait…it gets worse.
On Mon Oct 2, the County Council will do something highly unusual. At the scheduled Legislative Session, following the Introduction of New Legislation, the Council has scheduled a “Recess for Work Session on Council Bill 74-2017, Council Resolution 124-2017, and Council Bill 60-2017,” immediately followed by a vote on CB60. All this instead of adding continued discussion of CB60 to the next scheduled County Work Session. Why the rush, you might ask?
John Tegeris, President of the Dayton Rural Preservation Society and a champion of the cause has speculated “During the Sept 25 Work Session, Councilmembers Terrasa and Ball were asking hard questions related to our health and safety concerns. Those questions were answered ambiguously, flippantly, or not at all. It seems that Councilmembers Sigaty and Fox may have noticed that our health and safety concerns were being taken seriously, and in an effort to not lose more ground on their position, they have pushed for an immediate vote on their bill.”
I encourage you to link to Tegeris’ full letter to better understand citizens’ concerns about the health risks inherent in the proposed industrial scale processing to be permitted throughout the County. NO HEALTH ASSESSMENT has been done by any appropriately qualified employee of the County, yet Council Members Sigaty and Fox continue to dispute any testimony by experts, as for example, to the fact that wood waste is a carcinogen, that ground water supplies will be contaminated, and that airborne toxic and infectious agents can be spread for great distances. Surely it was pure coincidence that noted Hopkins physician and researcher, Dr. Velculescu, planning to share his expertise on the topic never got the opportunity. He had to leave on other business after waiting 3 hours beyond the time he was told to appear at the September 25 meeting.
I can’t adequately summarize or restate any better, so I urge you to go to http://www.preservedayton.com/letter-from-president when you finish reading this blog.
I’m confident you will agree “It is the responsibility of all Council members elected to uphold the trust and faith placed in them by the people they represent, and to give adequate time and consideration to ensure that quality of life, health and safety is protected for everyone. The potential impact of CB60 is so extreme that it deserves the benefit of full consideration, without being rushed to a vote.”
We must all wonder why CB60 is being rushed and squeezed through the process, and with unorthodox measures. We must also ask why one proposed administration amendment will enable an owner/operator to not be compliant with regulations for two years? I think the public ‘can see through’ that one.
Mr. Tegeris concludes “We will hope miracles happen on Oct 2, but if they do not, we will start to focus our attention on the elections to put new, better leaders in office and for whatever else lies ahead to keep fighting for our health, safety and quality of life.”
Follow Mr. Tegeris’ recommended Call to Action. Don’t let politics rule where science should—and meet me on the high road,