LETTER: Involve everyone in Sandusky's plans

You asked why the city of Huron can accomplish things, while the city of Sandusky never seems to be able to even start new projects.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

You asked why the city of Huron can accomplish things, while the city of Sandusky never seems to be able to even start new projects. Huron and its township are homogeneous in population. If Huron decides to do something, even without telling its citizens ahead of time, it is very likely a majority will agree with the decision.

Sandusky is very diverse, racially and financially. Our city has a recent history of making decisions without public input or recourse, often considering only one faction of our population. There is always a faction that is unhappy.

My solution is to involve the entire interested population in all of Sandusky's public project decisions. That is what we did on the first stage of the Chesapeake Walkway. We had a public meeting, and invited anyone who was interested to be on an e-mail update list. With regular updates, we were able to keep everyone aware of the progress and frequently were able to tap into the knowledge of the group to solve problems. The involved citizens also went to observe the construction, at times attending our meetings with the contractors, and helped to provide nearly-continuous oversight of the project. With the exception of a surprise change order in February, the citizens never had to ask about the walkway at commission meetings.

When Dan Kaman was mayor, there were regular press conferences to keep people up to date on what the city staff was working on. I looked at some Commission minutes from that era, and there were times when no one had public comments during the commission meeting. Sharing information, even about problems, really does help.

We need to involve our diverse population in the planning of our public projects, rather than surprising them with completed works rubber-stamped as emergencies.

Sandusky needs to embrace its diversity, not ignore it.

Ruth Haag

Sandusky