Insidious to shield board members from issues raised in real time

To the Editor:

Here, here to transparency in government. Never has the disregard for public opinion been made so overt than in the recent decision beginning with the Jan. 6 meeting of the Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals, to no longer allow for address of the board at the time of the public forum.

I am well aware that Open Meetings Law does not make this a requirement, and yes, there is still the avenue of sending an email outlining issues or concerns, provided that they are submitted by 4 p.m. the day of the meeting.

However, there is a critical historical precedent here that very discreetly has been canceled. That being, the populace has an opportunity to be heard as they become informed of the details of a project or proposal being presented by/to the board.

Perhaps even more insidious than shielding board members from issues raised in real time, is the inability for the public audience to hear those concerns. As was so aptly expressed on the editorial page of the Jan. 7 issue of The Altamont Enterprise: “a public forum gives other citizens a chance to hear grievances and concerns, or praise and advice and to weigh the merit of those comments.”

We are better for knowing our neighbors’ concerns. As stakeholders in our town, the compromises that are being approved in one neighborhood can be on our doorstep next week.

To this regard, I would like to applaud the opinion letter by Janka Bialek that also appeared in the Jan. 7 issue, “Development For Its Own Sake Is Thoughtless.”

Thank goodness for a free press where voices dismayed by the trend to, if I may use her well-appointed words, “simply rubber stamp every building project or variance that comes along,” can still have a platform.

Without corroboration from others, a person can feel like they are whistling in the wind. Since we have become more distanced from true participation in our governing bodies, community is vital. To that end, I would encourage readers to visit the website for The Guilderland Coalition for Responsible Growth,  

Voices heard. 

Iris Broyde


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