Wednesday, July 7, 2010

No chicken of due process

Misleading the public
unpublished Letter to the Editor

(submitted to both
The Sun and The Republican June 22, 2010)
from The Sun, July 16- 22, 2010

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to City Councilor Patti Devine’s Letter to the Editor entitled “No thanks, chickens,” published in The Sun June 18, 2010. Councilor Devine’s letter contains several myths and untruths regarding the political process that citizens in favor of transparent and responsible government should be made aware of.

First, City Councilors use orders to bring new ideas forward to the public and their colleagues. Orders are generally sent to an appropriate committee to be discussed in an open meeting and typically, the council votes to bring in relevant departments or experts in the field to help inform the council on its decision. In the case of the “chicken order,” the majority of the residents who participated in the political process voiced their opposition and Councilor Purington and I respectfully acknowledged the will of the citizens at this point in time and decided to vote with the Ordinance Committee 5-0 to give the order “leave to with draw”.

Second, giving an order leave to withdraw simply means that the council is ending the discussion on that topic; it is neither a vote for nor against that issue and the issue may be taken up by the council again at a later time. For Councilor Devine to claim that Councilor Purington and I, along with the rest of the council, voted against the chicken order is overtly misleading. Considering the many years that Councilor Devine has served on the City Council, as well as the fact that several of her own orders through the Ordinance Committee (including rescinding the business overlay district on Northampton St.; attaching late fees to special permits that are not picked up from the clerk’s office; restricting the grant of special permits to residents who have lived in the city for at least a year; among others) have been given “leave to withdraw,” I would assume that she is well aware of the significance of the term and its implications.

Lastly, during the committee meeting Councilor Devine accused the “chicken order” proponents of being out of touch with the residents. I beg to differ; if Councilor Devine believes that Holyokers have an appetite for fear-mongering and manipulative political tactics, then it is clearly she who is “out of touch” with the community.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Lisi

Holyoke City Councilor At-Large

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