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May minority voices be heard in City Hall

Posted: April 12, 2008 10:06 p.m.
Updated: June 14, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
"Though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
- Thomas Jefferson's first inaugural address, 1801

Following one of the more engaging elections in recent years, the Santa Clarita City Council gets back to work April 22 with a new member and a lot of work ahead.

Facing the council are the unresolved issues of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital expansion, the always-thorny question of growth in Santa Clarita, as well as infrastructure and greenbelt acquisition questions. There are no easy solutions to any of these issues.

Missing will be the voice of soon-to-be-former Councilman TimBen Boydston who, during his year and a half or so on the council, brought some vigorous debate to the proceedings.

Many have said he opened up the city's decision-making process, giving voice to those who felt disenfranchised, who felt decisions were made prior to issues coming before the public. A few went so far as to allege collusion in the city's own backyard.

Some dedicated city officials were, understandably, offended by these allegations. Many work long hours, setting aside their personal goals, their personal time, even their personal wealth, in order to serve the city.

In return, they often hear nothing but complaints and grumbling.

But they shouldn't be offended.

They should be concerned.

A cadre of citizens who feel disenfranchised is a worrisome thing in a democracy. While the majority's will must rule, the minority view must be heard, understood and respected.

The previous council, led by Boydston, showed it would do just that by scrutinizing the hospital plan carefully, identifying troublesome issues, and sending it back for review and revision.

We commend them for hearing the concerns of the minority and acting on them for the benefit of the majority. We encourage them to continue to do so.

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