Citizen forum gives stronger voice to residents


Citizen forum gives stronger voice to residents


Yuma, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - The new citizen's forum appears to be a calming force to what some have called in-fighting at City Hall.

Yuma City leaders established the citizen's forum in response to residents who were outraged after council members moved call to the public to the end of each council meeting.

The citizens forum is now held the day before each council meeting.

The forum at City Hall provided some back-and-forth discussion between the Mayor and the City Administrator on why these sessions are not being televised for all to see.

But Mary Ann Easterday, a local, says voicing her concerns and exchanging dialogue with City officials is a step in the right direction.

During the session Yuma Mayor Al Krieger spoke out and asked "Why is this not televised?" 

The Mayor immediately called for televising the citizens forum.

His political opponent City Administrator Greg Wilkinson said "Mr. Mayor, the work sessions are televised, the forums are not."

The two traded jabs back and forth.

Krieger says not televising the sessions is another way of silencing residents.

Council members Paul Johnson and Leslie McClendon agree the forums should be televised.

Wilkinson Pointed out it's only the second time the City has held a citizens forum and televising future sessions can be accomplished.

Yuma residents like Easterday agree.

"If they want to televise these meetings, I think it would be a good thing with the idea the public would know what's going on and maybe they would get engaged," said Easterday.

Easterday came in to voice her concerns on what the City can do to control flying dirt and dust that seems to be a problem near Avenue A, between 25th and 26th street.

Easterday says she was able to get feed back on her issue and supports the idea of having a citizens forum this way, better than she would have been able to in call to the public.

"Since you can dialogue right then and there, I think some of your questions are answered right away. Just like with tonight, they said maybe the would put up two barricades for the wind and they talked about things that could be done," said Easterday.

Easterday did say it's an inconvenience to have to fill out a speaker request form a week prior to the forum.

She also says she wishes the call to the public would again happen at the beginning and the end of each City Council meeting to give residents more opportunities to be heard.