TO THE EDITOR:
I salute all those who took of their time to attend the city board meeting Sept. 22. You went to the meeting as a sign of opposition to annexation of property belonging to an individual. Sadly, any concerns you had over your property values weren't as important as allowing an individual to profit financially from the board decision.
As you found out that night, most governmental boards could care less about what people think. In fact, the less you are allowed to say in protest, the better for them.
This decision, like most governmental decision, was already made prior to any public meeting. The voices of the people matter little to most elected officials except at election time.
I understand the financial benefit to the individual whose property was annexed. I don't understand the financial benefit to the city of McMinnville.
The fact is those who chose to attend the meeting deserved far more respect from the city board. At one point, the mayor threatened to clear the room. It's funny how only when people oppose the actions of a government board is such a threat made. It reminds me of a quote by President Harry S Truman, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
I believe any individual who wishes to address the board should be allowed to do so. If you want to set a time limit for each speaker, I can accept that.
I realize that allowing all those who want to speak would be time consuming on certain issues. That would be far better than seeming to deny individuals the opportunity to speak if they choose.
One lady who attended told me there were people afraid to leave after the board rubber stamped the decision that had already been made prior to the meeting.
I believe any individual who attends a board meeting has the liberty to leave at any time. I find it hard to believe you can seek to hold people hostage if they want to leave.
If a police officer acting upon orders from the mayor or city board seeks in any way to prevent an individual from leaving the board room, if they choose to do so, then I would think that individual has been unlawfully detained.
I do know I attended one particular board meeting. After the vote had been taken on the issue I was interested in, I decided to leave. As I was doing so, I was informed the meeting wasn't over.
As far as I am concerned, when a board, by its vote, tells the people their opinions matter nothing, then the meeting is over for me.