Stratford and the public forum

To the Editor:

I have been home from Monday evening’s Stratford Council Meeting for about two hours. I can not wait any longer. I arrived at Town Hall about 6:50 p.m. The first thing I noticed was a mostly empty parking lot! I went upstairs planning to sign the sheet for people who wished to speak at the public forum. It was not in its usual place. I asked and was told the public forum had ended at 6:45 p.m. I began asking “nicely” why and they said there were only three people who signed up to speak, it did not take very long, and they had closed that portion of the meeting. I said I only needed about two minutes to speak.

After they said no and there was no way, several of the Council members went into the conference room, closed the door behind them and met briefly. Apparently they had to discuss what they should do with me. Then one of them came out and said I could give my concerns to them in writing or via email. I said I did not have my concerns in writing, that it was all “up here” as I tapped my head.

This is the crux of what I wanted to say. It also would have been the third time that I raised this subject at a Council meeting…all to no avail. I have lived in Stratford for nearly seven years, and during that time I have attended many Council meetings. For me, one of the most valuable and interesting parts of the evening was the open forum …and most particularly hearing the Council members respond to the various questions and remarks made by the concerned residents of Stratford, This is no longer the rule. They have eliminated the Council members responding to the concerns and/or questions raised at the public forum. Can you imagine that? Is this how a democracy works? No wonder the parking lot was empty. No wonder only three people spoke at the public forum. Does Stratford no longer operate as a democracy?

Lisa Kasak

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