Sunset Hills aldermen disrespect votes of the people on rugby fields

Letter to the Editor 

To the editor:

Every vote counts… or does it? For many years, I didn’t think so. As a young adult, I abstained from many an election because I didn’t feel like my one vote mattered.

Then I had kids. As my children grew, I knew it was important to model good citizenship; to show that every vote mattered. I took them with me to vote.

Recently, I participated in the surveys for resident input on Bander Park that was donated to the city, and I spoke up at the Board of Aldermen and parks meetings.

My voice has been heard… or has it?

As this process has gone on, I often wonder if any of our politicians are actually listening. I feel like it’s our own electoral college. People vote and politicians do what they want. The rugby park was brought to the board last October. While the board was intrigued, they also cautioned that they should “gather community input…,” “survey, review and make best possible suggestions…,” and “listen to other options since this is public land.” Yet none of that was done until after the deal was signed.

Our elected officials — whose job it is to represent us — signed a 25-year lease giving up a large portion of the donated land before doing any of those things that they cautioned, never asking even one resident for their opinion.

Then, only after the deal was inked did our elected officials ask our opinion on what to do with the land through a survey.

Our residents overwhelmingly voted no to soccer/athletic fields. Honestly, if we voted no to soccer, do you think we would have said yes to rugby? I am sure that they knew the answer to that question so they never bothered asking.

Now, the BOA is annoyed that so many residents have voiced their disapproval of this deal. They like to remind us that they are our neighbors; that they only make a small stipend for their work as an alderman; that we should respect their opinion.

But, have they respected us?

Have they respected our opinion?

Better yet, have they respected our vote?

Jenna Hnilo
Sunset Hills

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