Speak up

Published 8:10 pm Friday, October 5, 2012

More than likely,  some Washington residents and others may be disappointed when the Washington City Council discusses the Turnage Theater during a closed session scheduled as part of its meeting Monday.
It wouldn’t be surprising if some people accuse the council of going into a “smoke-filled back room” to conduct business in private. Before those accusations start flying, know this: North Carolina’s open-meetings laws allow a public body — city council, town council or board of commissioners — to discuss the potential acquisition of property behind closed doors. Also know this: any action regarding the acquisition of property must be made in an open session before the public.
Although the council has the right to discuss the potential acquisition of property behind closed doors, that should not prevent the public from making its views on the matter known to the council. There is interest from many factions when it comes to the fate of the Turnage Theater. Some people believe it serves an elite segment of the area’s population. Others believe it provides cultural opportunities for other segments of the area’s population.
Those factions should attend the council’s meeting and speak up during the time set aside for comments from the public. Those factions may sign up to speak in the minutes before the meeting begins. The council is fairly liberal when it comes to giving the public opportunities to comment on issues that affect the city.
Take advantage of the opportunity Monday night to voice your thoughts on the fate of the Turnage Theater. If the council can discuss potential acquisition of property in a closed session, then let the public talk about what it would like to see happen to the Turnage Theater during the open segment of the meeting.