To the Editor,
At the last city council meeting I submitted a suggestion that four referendum questions be added to the November municipal ballot. The questions proposed seeking public input on proposals for a second Roger Street crossing, the Echo Pool options and the city becoming a coal port.
Mayor and council saw no merit in my proposal and rejected it. That is their prerogative, but, in my opinion, I believe they are missing an opportunity to connect with their constituents.
On the one hand a referendum gives mayor and council a chance to gauge public opinion on any number of initiatives they would choose to put on the ballot. Secondly it is a chance for the greatest number of city residents to let mayor and council know what the majority opinion is on some major proposals for our community.
Mayor and council should also consider that a large segment of the population is not comfortable standing up and speaking their mind at a public meeting, but would express their opinion at the ballot box if given the chance.
At issue is why mayor and council are reluctant to go to a referendum. Any such referendum would be non-binding on council as provided in the Community Charter (Part 4, Section 83, 1 & 2).
As I have stated before, putting additional questions on the November ballot may just result in a greater voter turnout and participation in our democratic process.
Does the present council want to promote greater involvement or does it want to preserve the status quo?