Archive for Thursday, October 20, 2005

Why the rush?

October 20, 2005

It's been two weeks since the Lansing City Council, in a split vote, directed Mayor Kenneth Bernard to complete the sale of the city-owned tract of land at West Mary and Main streets to First National Bank of Leavenworth. We're not judging the merits of whether the sale to the bank was right for the city, but we do pose this question:

What was the need to make the decision the night of the bank's presentation?

Bank officials said the proposal had been before the council some time and thought they "deserved" an answer that night.

The bank officials may have felt that way, but it was the public that deserved more two weeks ago.

Consider this: The line on the council agenda said only, "First National Bank." No mention was made of its offer for the land. Furthermore, bank officials declined to answer a reporter's questions about the presentation prior to the meeting. City Hall, though more forthcoming, still offered few details about the presentation before the fact.

In essence, there was no notice to the public or other potential suitors of the bank's intent. The sole opportunity to ask questions or voice an opinion rested with those who happened to attend the meeting.

It is understood that council members are the elected representatives of the people. But that doesn't mean the people shouldn't have the opportunity - and the proper notice - to speak out on matters of public interest before their elected representatives decide an issue.

Lansing residents deserve as much.

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