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Sunny Side

Council can respond to citizen concerns

At the last Sunnyside City Council meeting an interesting and pleasing event occurred.

The council responded to concerns of several citizens about what the new holiday the City of Sunnyside was to observe on Jan. 17 should be called.

The council was presented with the name Civil Rights Day. But after a Harrison Middle School ESL class and several citizens voiced their objections to renaming what the federal government has observed as Martin Luther King Day, the council voted in favor of their cause.

That is the way a democracy should work. People elect representatives. Representatives do the best job they can, but are always responsive to their constituents' concerns.

I have had many local citizens voice concerns and have read a few letters in opposition to the city contracting with an outside company to provide water and sewer services. The council says it is their fiscal responsibility to look at this option. I agree. They should look at all options to provide the city with services it can depend on and afford. But as was proven at the last council meeting, they should also listen to their bosses, the citizens of Sunnyside.

Ellen Bird, who spoke at the last council meeting, said she would rather have her rates go up, if that is what it took to keep our water and sewer services the way they are. There may be other citizens with similar concerns that should be heard.

I am sure the city employees in that department did not have a good holiday season. They no doubt have been wondering if they will have a job, if the privitization should occur. I would think citizens would be concerned about the level of responsiveness an outside company can provide.

I for one did not realize our water and sewer system was in such disrepair and a drain on our city's coffers that we need to bring in an international company based in France to manage our affairs.

Water and sewer are a basic need of any city. We have managed those needs for decades. I hope we can continue to do so locally. Services should not always be about a buck saved. Sometimes the effect on the lives of your friends and neighbors should outweigh the almighty buck.

Monday, the council will be discussing recent negotiations they have had with Veolia Water. If you have a concern about the possible privitization of the City of Sunnyside's water and sewer services I encourage you to show up at the Law and Justice center this coming Monday at 6:30 p.m. and let the council know.

Talking to one another on the street corner will get you nowhere. Talking to YOUR elected officials face to face may be your only opportunity to have a say in how your city is run.

1 - Tim Graff • January 21, 2005 • 8:33 AM

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