Public hearing needed on fireworks

One of the best things about living in the United States is our right of Freedom of Speech.

There is no better place to use that right than with local government. These elected representatives live in our community. We have direct access to them. If any government leader is going to listen, it will be our local leaders.

Often, it does not feel like our federal leaders listen to us in Washington, D.C. It's too far away. By the time we see them we forgot what we were mad at them about. To a lesser extent it feels like state leaders don't listen. Even though they are only in Olympia they can be hard to reach, too.

But our local leaders, they are different. They have meetings every week. And there is a open comment period each time. So, if we want to get something off our chest we can. And they are going to listen because they are sitting right in front of us. They are a captive audience with no where to hide.

So when a hot issue comes before a local government – let's say a possible ban on fireworks from of the Marysville City Council, for example – they should be willing to listen to as many people as possible. Only then will they be able to make a decision that takes all information into account.

Currently, the council is planning not to have a public hearing on that very hot topic. They plan to have an ad-hoc committee discuss the issue and come back to the council with a recommendation. They plan to have balanced representation on the panel – some council members, citizens for and against fireworks, nonprofits who sell fireworks, etc. That is great. But a public hearing is needed. Only then can the council see the passion people have for the issue – both for and against.

It would be easier for the council to make a decision with just a recommendation from an ad-hoc committee. But government's not supposed to be about easy. It's supposed to be about representing the people. And the only way the council can represent the people is to hear from all those who would like to speak at a public hearing.

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