The minutes from the May 27 Buckeye Lake Village Council include, “Council President Peterson apologized to the audience that they were subject to the behavior of a few unruly citizens.”
I believe the apology is owed to the so-called ‘unruly’ citizens. Union Street resident Jackie Sluder did an excellent job of recounting the 10+ year history of a derelict property at 54 Union Avenue. Her concerns were well founded and her frustration with the village’s failure to enforce its regulations is very understandable.
The property in question is absolutely deplorable and should have been targeted for aggressive enforcement years ago. Ms. Sluder should have been thanked for her patience instead of being lectured and threatened with removal from the meeting. Though she asked the question twice, she was only asking “WHEN” the village would be getting back to her. It was a reasonable request, particularly considering that she’s had to put up with this property for 10 some years. Instead, she was told to “sit down or we’ll have to get an officer to escort you out!” Unfortunately, Ms. Sluder wasn’t familiar with our rule-obsessed council meetings. You can’t get answers to your questions at a council meeting. Imagine that.
At the same meeting, Brenda Hileman mentioned someone’s name during public comments. She was immediately shut down and told she couldn’t mention any names. Peterson said she was concerned about “pointing fingers, name calling, diminishing reputations and adult bullying.”
Nothing Brenda said in her 30 seconds at the microphone fit Peterson’s descriptions.
Peterson stated, “If you don’t like how our community is run, put your house up for sale, rent it and MOVE because we don’t want you here. We want positive! We want people that want to see a change and want to go ahead. We don’t want to be a laughing stock. We have a lot to offer here and we all need to be proud of that.” I’m not sure who Peterson was referring to when she said “we” but I feel the need to exclude myself since she is the President of the Council on which I serve. At the end of the meeting, the other female council members said they agreed with her statements. However, I absolutely DISAGREE!
Ms. Sluder and Ms. Hileman, please accept my apologies to YOU! Thank you for taking time to bring your comments to your elected representatives rather than just complaining out on the street. Some of us still believe that we were elected to represent you and hear your concerns. We also still believe in freedom of speech.
The irony here is that Ms. Sluder was appealing for ‘change’ – a ‘positive change’ in village code enforcement and a ‘positive change’ in her neighborhood! Therefore, Ms. Peterson and Ms. Sluder actually want the same thing!
So should Ms. Sluder “love it or leave it?” Certainly not. Where would this country be without those who stood up for what was right? Most of us are grateful for those individuals in our country’s history that made a real difference in the last 200 plus years. We’re grateful they didn’t ‘up and move.’
If you aren’t permitted to have a voice at the very basic level of government in a small village of 3,200 then God help this country. How can we possibly expect to have any say in state or federal government, if we are told in our small villages to “love it or leave it?”