Tuesday, January 12, 2016 || By THE VILLAGE FREE PRESS
The nature of the responses to an article that was published last week has prompted us to respond ourselves in what will be an ongoing forum for communicating where we stand on certain issues. Hopefully, this will make the process by which we collect and share information more transparent, and enhance our accountability to the taxpaying and voting readers we strive to serve.
On Jan. 7, we published an article entitled, “Maywood Trustees Voice Frustration With Broadview’s Cul De Sacs, Urge More Communication With Neighbor.”
It was based on a brief exchange during a Jan. 5 board meeting between village trustees and a staff member about Broadview’s cul-de-sacs. Maywood Trustee Antoinette Dorris said she had fielded some concerns from residents who were wondering whether or not Broadview was entertaining the construction of another one along 13th Avenue.
The residents’ questions about future construction of another blockade were apparently a new development, which Dorris felt compelled to bring up, even though the existing cul-de-sacs are, as Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones pointed out in a comment below that article, almost two years old.
“[T]he cul-de-sacs in question have been in place since June 2013,” Jones noted.
Jones also noted that — although Maywood village engineer Mark Lucas said that there wasn’t any communication between Maywood and Broadview staff members before the construction of the existing cul-de-sacs — he “met with the former Village Manager of Maywood, the current Mayor of Maywood and the interim Police Chief of Maywood early on and during the cul-de-sac process”
Just an aside: both Jones and Lucas may well be correct. Key political and managerial figures of two towns can communicate with each other without the staff members of those towns doing so.
Jones was also correct in pointing out that this article suffered from some important historical context. And it wouldn’t have hurt if we reached out to him, and/or other Broadview officials, for any perspective they might have been able to provide on the issue — particularly considering that the article was, in part, about Broadview. In our haste to put out content, and with our very limited attentions and skills scattershot, we posted anyway.
However, in fairness to us, the nature of the article was meant to be in the spirit of a brief update, a snippet, something like a glimpse of the meeting minutes from what was — to be fair to the board members and the staff person who were talking about the issue — a rather informal dialogue that we suspect all of those involved in the discussion might have wanted to stay in that room.
But discussions about infrastructure are important and they’re so few and far between — at least in a public setting like a board meeting — that we seized on the opportunity to share that one bit of information (however spontaneous and off the cuff).
No matter, we could’ve done more — the least being reach out to the public servants of Broadview. That we didn’t do. It’s a teachable moment that we’ll learn from. Going forward, we’ll at least reach out to public officials before reporting on issues that so intimately involve their municipalities.
On this note, we’re in part following the politicians’ lead, several of whom from Maywood and Broadview have at least made the important first step of reaching out across their respective borders to spark dialogue and discussion about how both villages can work together for the sake of mutual improvement.
Perhaps they can start, as both Mayor Jones and Broadview Trustee Kevin McGrier suggested in our comments section, by joining together to think about creative ways to resurface 13th Avenue (Maywood Trustee Michael Rogers responded enthusiastically to McGrier’s suggestion).
Jones noted in his comments that he’s been told by Maywood officials that this was prohibitive due to a lack of funding on Maywood’s side. Where there’s a will (and with staff and elected officials of both towns working together), however, there may be a way. VFP