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Letter: Planning board doesnt allow honest input from residents
Wayne Stradley resigned Tuesday from the Citizens Advisory Committee, which works to give citizen input to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The meeting of elected officials who compose the Policy Committee of the Gainesville Hall Metropolitan Planning Commission showed their true colors at their meeting on Aug. 8.

Shortly before the meeting began, Wayne Stradley, chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the GHMPO, approached the elected officials with a question about the agenda for the meeting. Mike Miller, mayor of Flowery Branch and vice chairman of the Policy Committee, in response proceeded to tongue-lash Mr. Stradley in audible tones for all present to hear, saying he had overstepped his authority, accusing him of trying to ram things down their throats, and said if Mr. Stradley did not resign from the CAC, he (Miller) would ask Commissioner Billy Powell, who appointed Mr. Stradley to the CAC, to remove him.

This was an outrage. Mr. Stradley has always been courteous and has given voice to citizen concerns about traffic and road issues within our county. He has dared to ask questions, present new ideas and question thousands of tax dollars spent for out-of-town consultants when answers often lie with well-informed citizens and business leaders who live in affected areas. The issue of ramming things down the Policy Committee’s throats is laughable, for only the Policy Committee has the voting rights to approve or disapprove projects and expenditures.

Mr. Stradley’s attempts to review the 2004 by-laws to make them consistent and to establish an active membership for the Citizens Advisory Committee were also rejected by the Policy Committee, although these changes had been approved by unanimous votes of the CAC itself earlier in the month.

In essence, the CAC is under the thumb of the three elected mayors to be a rubber stamp, a “yes sir” committee. Not only does this leave residents from unincorporated areas of Hall County unrepresented, but it effectively kills any real citizen input at all. It is clear the three mayors want a CAC for window dressing only.

Mr. Miller should be censured for his abusive manner and derogatory tone toward Mr. Stradley. It was totally uncalled for and made for awkward moments for all in attendance.

Unfortunately, the other elected mayors seemed in agreement with Mr. Miller, as though the personal attack had been prearranged before the official meeting began. It was a sad moment for democracy in Hall County.

Anne Chenault

Regional events