The next time you’re upset with the Sioux City Council, don’t head to social media and start talking smack.
Go to a council meeting and do what Morningside residents did Monday – press your case and, rationally, explain why your idea is better.
Merchants and homeowners told the council they were concerned about a reconstruction project on Morningside Avenue. The proposed change – from four-lane to three-lane traffic and the addition of reverse-angle parking -- would hinder business and create safety concerns, they said.
While city staff had done studies that said safety was, indeed, an issue, they didn’t have the anecdotal evidence that people who live and work there were able to provide.
Lita Shulenberger, who works at the Hair Parlor, said many of the Peters Park customers are elderly and wouldn’t want to back in to park. No study could gauge something like that. It takes people who know the territory to really explain what would work.
Even better? The citizens speaking weren’t irrational in their approach. Too often, “citizen input” is fueled by anger, not concern.
Giving good reasons why a second look at the project was necessary, those Morningsiders got what they came for – an open ear from Council members who agreed city staff should take another look and come back with something that’s more workable.
The residents brought solutions – not problems – and got results.
Other discussions could be just as civil.
Monday’s actions, hopefully, will pave the way for more – and better – citizen input.