Mayor Durney and Hoquiam City Council,
I appreciate the opportunity that myself and other members of the public were given to attend the Hoquiam City Council retreat on Feb. 19. It was nice to be able to hear the various council members’ opinion about the issues. The citizens of Hoquiam need more opportunities like this so that we have a better idea of what is happening in our city. I know that the other citizens I talked to after the meeting were quite impressed and glad that they attended.
I know that all the council members are busy and don’t have a lot of time for public discussion on the issues. I think one of the things that would help would is if all of the resolutions and ordinances brought before the council were put on the floor at least a month before voting on them. That would give the citizens a chance to discuss the issues with their council members before any decisions were made. Most resolutions and ordinances don’t need to be passed so fast that the citizens don’t know what’s going on and have some opportunity for input on the issues.
I would not presume to tell you council members how to vote on the various issues that come up, but I believe you need more information on the issues, pro and con, before you make decisions. Sometimes information from outside sources can be quite important.
Several years ago the council rules allowed a council member to hold the floor for a citizen to make a comment about an issue during the council meeting. I believe that was a very good rule. Sometimes last minute information on an issue can be quite important.
I think the Hoquiam City Council needs to be more involved in the crude by rail issue. Maybe some zoning changes or restrictions on business licenses on companies involved in exporting crude oils. Maybe a moratorium on any business licenses until all of the various issues are resolved. The City of Hoquiam and the Port of Grays Harbor are the only thing standing between the people of Grays Harbor County and the various crude oil exporting companies and the railroads on these issues. If these projects are allowed to proceed there needs to be come contractual obligations or zoning changes imposed upon the various companies to protect the people.