To The Editor,
While researching West Virginia Code for another project I read this and thought it to be inspirational. It is only a small part of the larger code, which is available online, but discusses the roll of all elected officials and their relationship to the citizens they represent.
West Virginia Code Chapter 6. General Provisions Respecting Officers. Article 9A. Open Governmental Proceedings. §6-9A-1. Declaration of legislative policy. The Legislature hereby finds and declares that public agencies in this state exist for the singular purpose of representing citizens of this state in governmental affairs, and it is, therefore, in the best interests of the people of this state for the proceedings of public agencies be conducted openly, with only a few clearly defined exceptions. The Legislature hereby further finds and declares that the citizens of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the governmental agencies that serve them. The people in delegating authority do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for them to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments of government created by them. Open government allows the public to educate itself about government decision making through individuals’ attendance and participation at government functions, distribution of government information by the press or interested citizens, and public debate on issues deliberated within the government. Public access to information promotes attendance at meetings, improves planning of meetings, and encourages more thorough preparation and complete discussion of issues by participating officials. The government also benefits from openness because better preparation and public input allow government agencies to gauge public preferences accurately and thereby tailor their actions and policies more closely to public needs. Public confidence and understanding ease potential resistance to government programs…
I have comments that I would like printed as a letter-to editor on two of this week’s County Commission agenda items.
1. In Re: transfer of BOE property to GVEDC
It is my understanding that the property in question was given to the BOE with the explicit restriction that it be used for educational purposes. GVEDC is a private corporation with no such restrictions on its operations. This should make the proposed transfer impossible.
Secondly, transfer of County owned property to GVEDC, a private corporation, without auction, amounts to theft of public property. It appears to me that the BOE is obligated to hold the property for the purpose for which it was donated. Perhaps BOE could sell it to raise money for educational purposes, but sale must be at public auction, like any other sale of public property.
2. In Re research mine at Mace
Explicitly stated in the federal documents relating to choice of sites for this project, are requirements that disqualify the proposed site in Mace, relating to the Karst structure of the site. If MSHA wishes to corrupt their own process, our County Commission should not participate and become accessories to the corruption.
Conversation with staff involved in this project at scoping meetings has disclosed that no due diligence was applied to maintain use of the existing facility in Pennsylvania and avoid incurring the large cost of constructing a new one. Here is more corruption in which our County Commission should not make itself accessory. Furthermore, no evidence has been presented of any search for existing abandoned mines which could be converted to this purpose at negligible cost.
No plans to evaluate connectivity of Karst porosity at the site exists, which means no assurance exists that water will not be contaminated by operations, likewise no assurance exists that test explosions will not leak out of the facility and cause forest fire or other damage to other property.
These two issues both give our Commissioners opportunity to show if they believe government should obey the law, and if they are working for us, or for outside interests.