LETTERS: BCC misses opportunity to display transparency

Published: Monday, December 31, 2012 at 05:26 PM.


An open letter to the Walton County Board of County Commissioners :

While I was of necessity out of state and unable to attend the recent BCC meeting, I have kept in touch with others who were there. I was gravely disappointed in the vote to deny representatives of Driftwood the opportunity to address the new commission. I recall something about the right of citizens to petition their government somewhere in the hazy recesses of memories of American history and political science studies of long ago.

To deny citizens the right to speak in a public forum in a civil manner in order that they might bring to the attention of the new members of the BCC their grievance is a grave misjudgment in my view — one which augurs poorly for better relations between the BCC and the citizens of Walton County. This is not a good start.

I am not using this occasion to speak to the merits of Driftwood's petition. Rather, I speak in defense of their right to be heard, a right that I find you as a body have unwisely abrogated by your vote. I urge that you reconsider this fundamental error in judgment and that it not be repeated in this or any other case. You have done yourselves as a body and the citizens whom you have been elected to represent a serious disservice by this action.

There has been a substantial mistrust of the BCC and its motives and actions in the time preceding this last election. If you do not believe it your job, your near-sacred responsibility, to rekindle the fires of trust that the last commission effectively extinguished, I would urge you to reconsider your position. Walton County deserves better.

Commissioner Meadows, thank you for honoring the constitutional rights of the citizens. I hope I may repeat those thanks many times over to each of you in future.

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