Metro Parks board members Ryan Mello and Victoria Woodards felt they didn’t get a fair shake in our editorial last week about faltering public faith in parks district leadership. They plan to submit a guest column this week, but here’s an early look at their take:
Over the past two years, the District has been consistently going the extra distance to actively engage citizens in public process. Literally thousands of community members have participated in dialogue with the District about 2005 Bond Improvement projects through advisory and steering committees, charettes, workshops and a host of design meetings.
We wonder why, with that demonstrated commitment to public engagement, skepticism about our intentions exists. After all, many of our bond projects begin the public process with the aid of a steering committee which develops initial ideas intended to spur dialogue during meetings with the broader public.
Just as neighborhood members are viewed as subject matter experts who serve on steering committees for the improvements in their nearby parks, the citizens who served on the Revenue Task Force are subject matter experts in both business and government who were asked to provide ideas to increase revenues and cut expenses. Their report contains ideas for exploration which are neither ‘worked up’, nor presented as a ‘pretty package’.
In fact if you read the Task Force report you will find that background research has not been conducted, nor have any feasibility studies been completed. The ideas are at the highest level possible. Many of the 16 members are Tacoma citizens and tax payers themselves. And, like other active community members, they dedicated volunteer time to share their enterprise experience for the benefit of the community.
Now that we have the report, we will go through a comprehensive public process to shape these ideas from the ground up, add to the mix, eliminate and refine.
We continue to be fully committed to listening to all constituents and being the best stewards of our public parks and recreational facilities and taxes. To achieve this, we engage citizens across a wide range of interest and expertise through a number of venues. We value each and every voice and input.