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Open forum part of good government

Posted: April 26, 2011 9:17 a.m.
Updated: April 27, 2011 5:00 a.m.

I would like to commend Kershaw County Councilmen Jimmy Jones and Bobby Gary for opening up the idea of reviewing the public comment period of County Council meetings. This “public” period, I think we can all agree, is not open enough. At present, citizens can only make a statement and there is no interaction between Council and the public. The tenants of our Constitutional Republic are violated when government attempts to eliminate dialogue and open debate. Instead, government is intended to be questioned with public debate in open forums. Public discourse is critical to Representative government and to holding politicians accountable. The debate forces them to defend their position publicly. Yes, some open forums could get heated, but this should be the exception, rather than the rule, as most people are civil.

Open debate is part of what keeps government limited. If politicians have to defend their positions publicly, many bad decisions can be avoided.

Thank you again, Councilmen Jones and Gary, for bringing up this issue and I look forward to your proposals for improving the public comment period of County Council meetings.


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