Something interesting happened on Thursday night at borough hall in Honesdale.
The public had a say on an issue which brings out passion for residents of the borough — and everyone else for that matter.
A special meeting of an appointed committee was called to discuss the issue of one-way streets in the borough.
What was different this time around was the fact the public was notified of the meeting. Borough councilman Bob Jennings insisted upon a public notice so the people could attend and express their feelings.
And the people did just that, both for and against.
The discussion was lively and everyone who spoke gave good reasons for their own beliefs. It was really democracy in action and that was refreshing.
This is how meetings of borough committees — and all meetings for that matter — should happen.
As far as we can tell, this may be the first time the borough has ever put out a public notice when it comes to a committee meeting.
Officials should learn a valuable lesson from this meeting.
What sometimes gets lost for local officials is the fact all meetings are open to the public.
If the streets committee meets, the public can attend. If a committee from Bethany Borough meets, it is open to the public.
Thursday's meeting was a great example of how the system should work.
There were some ideas which cropped up at the meeting that nobody had considered. Local businessman Paul Ludick should be commended for his input at the meeting.
Ludick gave committee members some very sound ideas on how to improve the current traffic flow in Honesdale.
Page 2 of 3 - Ludick said he likes the one-way streets. Most of those who spoke at the meeting agreed the streets should stay one way.
But not everyone believes that to be the case and they spoke, as well.
As it should be.
Disagreement and adult discussions are the bedrock of our democracy. That is how this country was built and it's the only way this country will survive.
Sure, one-way streets in Honesdale might not equate to the fighting in Libya, but the process is the same.
People have differing views. They express those views to those who will make the decision.
The decision makers, in turn, discuss the issues openly and then come to some conclusions.
In this case, if there are recommendations, those would go to the full council for any action.
Though we are very early on in this discussion, it appears the process if off to a great start based on the discussion held Thursday night.
We are hopeful that members of the Honesdale council, and all elected officials in the area, will learn a major lesson from this meeting.
Openness is not only the right thing to do, it makes the system work better.
Too many times local officials want to keep things quiet before coming out with decisions. In almost every case, that turns around to bite them in the behind.
Citizens don't mind if their elected leaders have different views, they just want to know those views. Everyone has disagreements, it's how those disagreements are handled which is the key to success.
We also give kudos to Mayor Ed Langendoerfer, who spoke some very wise words at the meeting. He suggested the committee focus on improving the current system of one-way streets rather than making some attempt to change them back.
Page 3 of 3 - That is a crucial point in this discussion.
It's highly unlikely the streets will change back and if they did, Honesdale can forget about getting anything from PennDOT in the future. Any proposal would be promptly placed on the bottom of the pile.
But if the will is strong enough to make a major change, then that is the risk the borough would have to take.
No matter how it shakes out, the bottom line is the system worked and making sure it works in the future should be paramount in the minds of those who are elected to lead.