I read your recent article [“Bacon or Flames? City seal design options are narrowed down,” Brookhaven Reporter, Oct. 16-29] with amused bemusement. I’ve also reread it a couple times when I feel like laughing. Fortunately, the city seal is not a big deal (for me) but the actions of the City Council are disturbing, once you stop laughing.

If this is how they are on small issues, then what do they do on others? So, to recap…Bates Mattison believes the seal is an important issue that “is not something to go back and change.” He’s spent $2,000 on it and wants to spend another $2,500. Fine.

Then he puts out a public survey for civic feedback on SurveyMonkey. He also does a very poor job advertising this public survey on his important issue because I, for one, certainly never heard of it. 

Then he is too cheap and dumb to realize that the free version of SurveyMonkey only accepts 100 votes, even though it is plainly stated on their website, where for only $300 he could have had all the responses he wanted for this survey and others for a year. Nice job, Bates. But wait, my chuckling from city bumbling does not stop there.  Then he “accidentally erased” the results of the votes.

I’ve used Survey-Monkey before; erasing a file is not that easy. Perhaps he did not like the results of the vote. Regardless, the level of ineptitude in this series of events is pretty bad once you stop laughing. Maybe the council can get one of their kids to do a better job surveying next time.

While Linley Jones pooh-poohs the idea of SurveyMonkey, I’d like to think we have representatives that welcome input from their constituents. So now the City Council, who already had demonstrated their incompetence in (at least) this matter, has decided to make the decision amongst themselves with input from “the artistic eyes of some staff members.”  This approach troubles me.
If the city wants to seem more transparent and less like fools, then plop down $300 for a survey and let their citizens chime in after advertising it…and the votes be taken into account, even by Linley Jones. Also, let some kid tally the results for the cost of a pizza and a six-pack of beer…just not one of Bates Mattison’s kids, obviously.  at should be in the city budget.

Better yet, since the Brookhaven leadership is about to be voted out of office, maybe they should refrain deciding on issues that one cannot go back and change altogether.

As a final thought, this whole episode reminds me of a “Parks & Recreation” episode I saw recently. “Parks & Recreation” is a comedy; I don’t think that is the standard we should be aiming towards.

–John Hess