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Close the gap
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Dear Editor,
We have a marvelous opportunity here. The current gap between the Board of Commissioners and the citizens they serve, regarding the landfill proposal, gives us a great opening to adopt a beneficial change.

In this current situation we must close that gap and all lay our cards on the table to work together for the best resolution of our landfill issues, for the sake of reaching our best future. We can take from this a general principle: Laying our cards on the table is not a game between the commissioners and the citizens, but a game where all of us together must play the best combined hand we have for our best chance to win.

No group, elected, appointed, hired or civilian, has all the cards or necessarily the best cards.

So therefore, beyond the most narrowly proscribed legal necessity, it is counterproductive to try to play a winning hand with only part of the deck, held in some level of secrecy. After all, sooner or later we will all know, so why work in secret? And sooner is better. Delay in openness and cooperation only causes twice the effort, twice the contention, twice the time to resolve and is twice as unnecessary(sic). It thwarts building our best, needed, mutually developed winning hand.

Commissioners willing to genuinely work more openly and cooperatively with citizens at the earliest opportunity, and throughout the process, in any given situation, including this one and all future matters, will find a willing, capable, even appreciative partner in concerned citizens.

Ask yourselves this in all honesty: When has a develop-it-in-secret-and-spring-it-on-citizens tactic ever worked? Hint: it has never worked as far as the citizens are concerned. So why not do it differently from now on?
Another quick analogy: cooking up a complete meal and attempting to serve it before checking with the diners risks serving what you might regard as a lovely omelet to a group allergic to eggs.

And to dispel any misconception: you may have noticed in the space of one short week how much expertise and grasp of complex issues was attained by the citizens. It is doubtful that you will wrap your head around anything the citizens will not also be able to handle. You needn’t think you are trying to spare us.

To avoid egg on all of our faces, on any issue, I pledge, from the get-go, to share openly any cards I may have and will gladly seek and accept your cards and partner with you to adjust and combine them to the best mutual benefit of us all.
That may sound naive, but I’m willing to try it; something here needs to change. If the cards that citizens hold in this landfill issue had been sought and cooperatively blended with yours early on, before any agreements were presented as ready for approval, there might be a gap between the county and the petitioner, but there would be much less gap between the BOC and the citizens.

Another word for this open, cooperative, accountable, cards-on-the-table way of operating is: transparency.

In hopes of Our Best Future,
Steve Brown