Residents Accused of Being "Lazy"
It was a sad night at the September 8, 2021, Newtown Board of Supervisors meeting
The debate over hybrid Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meetings, which would allow residents the option to attend and participate via Zoom or other technology, continued at the September 8, 2021, BOS meeting.
In a comment to the BOS, Newtown Grant resident John D’Aprile was of the opinion that the township should not spend money on hybrid meetings so that “lazy” residents can attend. “Why should we cater to someone who is lazy and does not want to come to meetings?,” quipped Mr. D’Aprile.
Uber Refuses Guide Dog!
Meanwhile, at the August 25, 2021, BOS meeting, resident Terry Christensen, Chairman of the Board of Friends Village, said that he supports the hybrid option, as many of the Friends Village residents are not able to attend meetings in person anymore, but are still very eager to participate in local government matters.
In response to my questions, Mr. Christensen said that he is visually impaired and unable to drive and has taken Ubers to recent meetings. He cannot stay late as it becomes difficult to arrange for a ride later in the evening; he has also been refused a ride because he has a guide dog.
BTW, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a guide dog should be able to go anywhere that a blind person can go.
Adding Insult to Injury!
In my opinion, Mr. D’Aprile’s comments are an insult to residents who are NOT lazy such as the elderly, the handicapped, and anyone susceptible to COVID infections. Mr. Christensen was able to attend only because of the kindness of another citizen who gave him a ride – with his guide dog!
Yes, residents can watch BOS meetings that are simulcast on cable TV. But more and more people – especially the elderly – are doing away with expensive cable TV and using streaming media such as Youtube. Newtown does NOT stream its BOS meetings via digital media such as Youtube. Even if it did, it would not be advisable to allow unedited comments from anyone, including trolls and non-residents.
Yes, residents can send comments via email or postal mail to the township to be forwarded to all supervisors, but these comments are NOT read aloud at public BOS meetings and are NOT included in the official minutes of meetings. Basically, you are out of luck making your opinion known to other residents unless you attend the meeting in person.
What You Can Do To Help
This underscores the need to have hybrid BOS meetings that give residents - not just supervisors - the OPTION to attend and participate virtually. If you agree, PLEASE SIGN MY PETITION! To date, 180 people have signed. All signatures will be sent to the supervisors.