I read with great interest Ms. Freeman’s recent letter declaring Councilman
Billy Swain unfair when he questioned a speaker at a recent public hearing
concerning a development on the west side very near the water. The woman who
spoke before the council, a local representative of a national environmental
group, expressed her opinion that the development should not be permitted, as
it was too close to the water.
Trying to elicit information about what
amount of setback would be acceptable to the speaker, Councilman Swain asked
several followup questions. She responded with a specific number of feet.
The exchange that Ms. Freeman found objectionable occurred when Mr. Swain
politely asked whether the speaker didn’t, in fact, live on the water, herself.
She responded that while that was true, she didn’t see the relationship between
one and the other.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I like it when my
elected officials try to understand all of the factors bearing on a specific
decision. I do not think it impolite, and, in fact, value someone who thinks it
is important to live and act consistently with his or her espoused views. We
should applaud Councilman Swain for his diligence.