Did you hear about the public hearing for the Grand Round? About the one concerning the rules governing resource protection and development around our Mighty Mississippi?
Public hearings are part of our governmental system. They are supposed to be just that, “public” “hearings” in which our policy makers can hear from you and me. The kicker is that you and I need to know how to ask the right questions from the right person at the right time to even know they’re happening.
Let’s take, for example, the Parks and Recreation Commission’s upcoming hearings on the Grand Round and the rules for the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area. The hearings are scheduled for Wednesday, May 11 at 6:45pm at 1544 Timberlake Road (McDonough Recreation Center).
If you didn’t even know there’s a Parks and Recreation Commission, don’t feel bad. Its okay, we’ll help you find it. Go to the city’s website, under Government, scroll to Departments and click on Parks and Recreation and then go to the Parks page. Not there. Type in “Parks and Recreation Commission” in the search field. Ah, there it is.
According to the City’s website, “The Parks and Recreation Commission is a citizen group formed to advise the Mayor and the City Council on Parks and Recreation matters of long-range and citywide importance. Citizen participation is encouraged in all Commission business, and the Commission is often sought out by the public as a place to voice their concerns and opinions.”
Good luck seeking them out. Commissioner’s contact information is not provided. No biographies. No term information.
The Grand Round bicycle route and development, or not, around the Mississippi River and general environs are not small topics. Even though its a citizen group (unlike the Planning Commission which has a legal charge to participate in process), it seems fair to ask that if there is a claim to be made that “a public hearing was held” that claim has real, true meaning.