Excuse #5: Just trust us
Why Won't They Let Us Vote on Open Space Funding
This is the fifth in a series of posts about what Media Borough Council members have said about why Media residents shouldn’t be able to vote in November on whether or not to invest in saving our last remaining green open space in the borough.
KMG will also provide our responses to Council members’ arguments for denying voters a voice in whether or not our borough should invest in acquiring and saving open space.
Note: KMG reviewed video footage from the April 7, 2022 Borough Council Workshop meeting, when over 30 minutes was devoted to this topic, to ensure that the Council members are quoted accurately.
Excuse # 5: Just trust us
The thinking on this one is that Media doesn’t need a voter referendum to fund open space acquisition, the people should just trust our Borough Council to get the job done.
On April 7th, Council President Brian Hall gave the ultimate paternalistic reason for opposing a voter referendum on open space funding when he urged residents to just trust our wise and well-intentioned Borough Council to save the last 23 acres of unprotected open space in our town.
“This [acquiring open space] is something we are committed to doing…there needs to be some trust here.”
View meeting and advance to time signature: 1:47:24
KMG’s Response to Excuse # 5:
It’s obvious that Councilperson Hall does not grasp the depth of community mistrust that he and Borough Council created in 2021 when they refused to invest in saving the Centennial Woods located at 6th Street and Centennial Avenue after the landowner had offered to sell the property.
If it’s not worth saving a life-enriching 125-year-old grandmother oak tree and 55 other mature trees in a unique neighborhood woodland that neighbors and hundreds of borough residents pleaded with you to save, why should anyone trust that our Council members have the heart and mind to save any remaining green space in our town?
[View our short video,"Where the Woods Were"to learn about the campaign to save the Centennial Woods and Council's decision to approve the development plan.]
Then, Borough Council sowed more mistrust when they adopted a plan to invest “$3 to $10 million” for acquiring open space within three years but failed to allocate a thin dime specifically for open space acquisition in the 2022 budget.
Note: Council did allocate $150,000 in the 2022 capital budget in an ambiguous line item titled “Open Space Plan Implementation” BUT -- at the June 16th Borough Council meeting -- Councilman Peter Williamson, the Finance Committee Chair, presented proposals for spending those dollars on projects other than open space acquisition or preservation.
Finally, when Council member Paul Robinson proposed forming a joint Council/Resident Committee to identify threatened, undeveloped land for acquisition and to meet with landowners, the other Council members rejected the idea of including residents. Those Council members preferred complete control and secrecy in the unlikely scenario that they ever did target land to buy at some unspecified point in an imaginary future.
Trust is earned.
Trust the people. Let Us Vote on Open Space Funding.