The Kern County Board of Supervisors needs to take a closer look at the way it interacts with the public. Many residents are seriously disturbed by this board’s recent inability to listen and respond appropriately to residents’ concerns.
For the Sept. 13 meeting, which began at 2 p.m., the board placed four items on the agenda. Most of 30 or more speakers wanted to address only the final two items on the agenda: the proposed Tehachapi and Jawbone Canyon wind farm projects that impact them directly. The board had already seen letters and comments from the developer days before the meeting. For the public, the first and last chance to express concerns was at this meeting.
By 5:30 p.m., the board announced that it would allow only 10 minutes for testimony about Jawbone Canyon. One person who had waited nearly four hours to speak was confined to one minute to express his concerns about wildlife in the Kelso Valley area. By placing an extreme time limit on the speakers, the supervisors removed any real dialogue.
Residents should have been able to voice their legitimate concerns about land use in Kern County for the next 100 or more years. Shockingly, the board unanimously rubber-stamped both projects.
The public would be far better served if our board would put controversial topics at the beginning of a meeting or call a special meeting with only one item on the agenda. We need to remember this disfranchisements of Kern residents when it comes to electing new supervisors. The public deserves to be heard.
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