Public forums good for city, citizens

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 20, 2004

As a newspaper, The Selma Times-Journal believes that government can never be too open.

The more accessible any government – local, state or national – is, the better it is for democracy and citizenship.

That’s why we applaud the Selma City Council for holding it’s public forum.

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Intended as a way to inform the public about the workings of city government, as well as the perceived problems between the mayor and the council, we believe the forum was a success.

The well-attended meeting gave the residents of Selma a chance to question the Council about a variety of issues, some which couldn’t have been comfortable for the Council to answer. Several citizens asked about the crime rate in Selma, city politics and what the Council intended to do about both. The Council responded with honesty and information, the two things essential in any city government.

We commend the Council for calling the meeting and answering every question put forth in as open and honest a matter as possible for them.

But, we hope the Council takes the advice and concerns of the citizenry to heart. Especially in regards to a request for more public forums.

While it’s understand that every City Council meeting is

open to the public, not every meeting is conductive to increasing the connection between the people and their government.

The format allowed Selmians to approach their government with questions and concerns without being disruptive to the nuts-and-bolts running of the government.

Hopefully, this meeting will be the precursor for more like it in the future.