One of the most common themes on this page is the need for transparency in and by government and for residents to have an opportunity to offer input and ideas to their elected and appointed leaders.
We rail against situations, such as the location of the new courthouse, when there isn’t openness, so in fairness we also should applaud and highlight examples of the kind of openness that should be standard fare.
A couple of recent examples where the public has or will be invited to provide input early in the process:
• In considering whether to put a road tax before Stanislaus County voters in 2014 or 2015, city managers and others are suggesting that a survey and other public input is a critical first step. We thoroughly agree. There is no formal mechanism yet for such input, so for now we urge citizens to simply let their elected council members and/or county supervisors know what they think about a half-cent increase in the sales tax to pay for and leverage more money for street and road improvements.
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• People often don’t pay attention to planning issues until the last minute, but the city of Modesto’s Community Development Department tries to alert residents to studies long before they have been molded into formal decisions going before the City Council. Here’s another one that south Modesto residents should be interested in: A public meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 26 on how to improve Crows Landing Road in terms of transportation, business and overall making it a better place to live, work and shop. The session will be in the cafeteria at Shackelford School, which is at the corner of School Avenue and Crows Landing Road. For more information:www.modestogov.com/ced/projects/crows-landing-study.asp.
• Finally, the demeanor of new California State University, Stanislaus, President Joseph Sheley is so different that he is inherently more approachable than his predecessor. At his late-August speech kicking off the school year, Sheley asked for community support in spreading the word about the campus and its accomplishments. Students and staff are likely to respond because Sheley has proved himself to be a leader who listens. As an aside, we also agree with Sheley’s emphasis on effective writing as a critical skill for Stanislaus State students and graduates.