I attended the Council meeting Monday and have a couple of comments I would like to share with the community about the meeting in general. Shortly into the meeting it became time for a public hearing on an annexation and zoning request for some property boarding the city. Two of our councilmen, Jim Restucci and Mike Farmer, for whatever reason, excluded themselves from the hearing. The reason for them excusing themselves is not as important as the fact that they were honorable enough to admit they could not hear the matter in a fair and objective manner. They did the right thing for the right reason.
After the Mayor read a disclaimer and everyone left on the council believed they could hear the matter in a fair and objective manner and no one from the audience had any objectives to the council members that were left hearing the request, the real atrocity came.
Because of knowledge of the Catholic family programs, which directly reflects her religious preferences, Councilman Don Vlieger openly questioned in public Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar's ability to sit in judgment of this matter.
You (Vlieger), yourself admitted to giving an extended conversation with the proponents and touring a couple of their sites and yet, you felt completely at ease with your comments and vote. It was very evident to me that you were taking the opportunity to once again attempt to discredit and belittle a council person, this one is particular, who may vote opposite of you. It seems to be a pattern that anyone who does not agree with anything and everything you say should not be around to present opposing views. It truly demonstrated the amount of integrity you have.
Later in the meeting, the Mayor explained that the Daily Sun News in an editorial made some comments about the city manager that were less than flattering and filled with misinformation. If I could make a suggestion, perhaps the city manager could sit down with someone from the papers and make a statement that could include any past dealings with this company and any other pertinent history important to the community with this newspaper, so citizens of the community could be properly informed.
I, too, have found from experience that it is distasteful when misinformation is given out about you personally.
On the privatization issue, I would like to respond to Councilman Restucci's comments. He stated that he has not heard one good reason from the community not to privatize. I am somewhat disappointed with that answer and attitude. It makes him sound like he's joined the fab three and possesses far superior knowledge of what is best for the citizens. He, like the rest of the council, seem to forget that they were elected to be the voice of the people, not to inadvertently tell them they do not have the intelligence to figure out what is best for them. For the person that says "because that is a good reason."
As someone from the Council said at the previous workshop, 100 percent of the people came to the session saying a resoundingly NO, 20 percent left saying "maybe," and that still leaves 80 percent saying no. Until you get over 50 percent saying its a good idea, the Council should follow the will of the majority of the people. That is what you were elected to do.
I would like to commend Councilman Paul Garcia for suggesting that this matter be tabled until more information is put out to the public and more of the public agrees with the process. I believe the Council made a wise decision last Monday in doing so. I am not so sure that a firm date of the 28th of the month for a vote is in their best interest. It tells me that the person pushing that vote has his vote in hand regardless of the public input.
It also became evident that getting a hold of your Council is not as easy as some people would like to believe. Perhaps the city should consider installing voice mailboxes for each councilman. Another suggestion would be to give each their own City of Sunnyside e-mail address and post it to the public or on the city web site.
Now to answer a question or comment that I am sure will arise sometime, do I live in the city? The answer is no. I do, however, live one lot north of the city limits, in the urban growth area, across the road from where they are going to build multiple new schools and will undoubtedly be dragged in kicking and screaming. I spent a vast majority of my money inside the city and feel that whatever decisions are made by this Council will effect me in the long run.
/s/ James Stanton