Staying in the open

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 28, 2008

The issue: Selma City Council members had the opportunity to go into closed session to discuss a rezoning measure, but a majority voted not to.

Our position: This is the first indication that the council plans to be open with the voters.

Selma City Council members indicated on Monday night they intend to keep public matters open and city residents informed when they voted not to go into executive session to discuss a rezoning issue.

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The council could have voted to close the doors, discussed the rezoning matter in private and come back out with no report.

There&8217;s no provision in the open meetings law for them to take such action, but that has never stopped this particular council before.

The action the other night seems to indicate the council &8212; or at least a majority &8212; might have the public&8217;s best interest at heart.

Those voting to remain in the open were George Evans, Jean Martin, Cecil Williamson, Dr. Geraldine Allen, Jannie Venter, Johnnie Leashore and Reid Cain.

Bennie Ruth Crenshaw voted to go into closed-door session.

Sam Randolph hadn&8217;t shown up at the meeting yet.

Still, the public does not know what will happen to the property next to the Winn-Dixie on Dallas Avenue.

There&8217;s always a way around openness.

The council members will receive a letter from Jimmy Nunn, the city&8217;s attorney, telling them what the

proposed land-use will be.

Certainly, anyone who understands business operations knows there is some secrecy involved. However, this property is near a residential area, and people living adjacent to it or near it should know what they will have to contend with if the council passes some kind of rezoning provision.

The council needs to come all the way out of the closet on this issue, call the landowners up to the podium and let them tell what will happen with the land.

Anything that happens behind closed doors can&8217;t be good for the community.