Sides should be capable of talking out sticky issues

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My Views

 Out the mouths of babes sometimes the best things are said.

Over the past couple of months, the Fox Chase City Council meetings have been a bit out-of-the-ordinary. 

There has been discussion - albeit a bit offensive at times.

But in attending his first meeting, Brian made a great observation.

He said the elected officials and the public are there to do what is best for the community. He sensed a real negative tone to the discussion.

For a first-time attendee, that is great.

He got to the core of the purpose of the informal meeting between city officials and residents.

Over the past three months, there have been letters exchanged, bad vibes felt and a few real ugly comments put into the public forum.

On this particular night, the council wrapped up its official business and then adjourned. Several of the councilmembers and the mayor remained to talk with the residents about their concerns.

It was a first step in the right direction of healing the relationship.

Mayor Bill Broughton said he has felt attacked and his integrity questioned by some of the comments made.

Many of the attacks have been pointed at Pioneer Village mayor Gary Hatcher.

The issue over the discontinuance of the police patrol by Pioneer Village raised the ire of some.

Councilmember Loretta Napier said the atmosphere of the meetings had been horrible and there were really nasty things said.

Councilman Sonny Winbun said the city of Pioneer Village knew it had a contract for police patrol and it paid up through the end of the year. No matter what the contract read, Winbun said both parties knew that it was for the patrol of city streets.

Several residents wanted to know why the patrols were stopped for a week.

Although he had talked with the mayor of Pioneer Village, councilman Phillip Puckett figured that there were some comments directed at Ricki Daniels, who serves as city clerk for Fox Chase and Pioneer Village, which he didn’t appreciate.

Resident Mike Higgins said there was an apology the next month. He said pulling the police protection after the council opted to do away with speed humps seemed to fuel the disagreement.

Sandy Higgins was concerned that the letter sent out by Broughton was very negative toward the Block Watch leadership. She hoped that Broughton would be strong enough to serve as mayor and not rely on others to run the city.

At the end of the day, Broughton said he decided to stick around and listen to the residents to find a way to mend fences.

Yes, it was still an official meeting of the Fox Chase City Council as there was a quorum of members. Yes, as a reporter, we normally stay until the last person leaves.

Without some of the pressures of a formatted meeting, the informal discussion seemed valuable. Some feelings got out into the open. Maybe a few fences were mended.

I hope that the discussions in November helped. We love a good fight. It’s great for business. However, in the long run, some things that we are fighting for are just not worth it.

But showing that the city wants police protection in 2012 is something the people of Fox Chase should think is worth fighting for - in the right way.