LETTER: Showing up is a part of the job

To the Editor:


Transparency of government was a repeated theme at the recent Mendota Heights candidate forum. Many citizens expressed concerns over a perceived lack of transparency from the city council, planning commission and city staff. This perception was validated by the conspicuous absence of three of the eight candidates, including the current Mayor Neil Garlock, current council member Liz Petschel and council candidate Rachel Quick. 

All of the candidates were given a month’s notice of the time and format of the forum, which provided a nonpartisan, independently moderated open forum for candidates to meet with and field questions from concerned voters.

Council members and the mayor have a duty to listen and consider “all” citizen concerns, not just those who may agree with them. Their lack of participation in a citizen forum because there may be uncomfortable questions suggests these candidates don’t have the temperament for the offices they wish to hold. 

Citizen input and feedback is a bedrock principle of effective local government, and we need elected officials that don’t treat our input as an after-thought or annoyance. These candidates’ disdain for their constituents’ opinions and input has been on display for years and does our community a great disservice. 

It is time for this to end. Please send these candidates a message and vote for those who showed the courtesy to respectfully listen and answer questions from community members. Please vote for Jill Smith for mayor, Jonathan Zagel and Ultan Duggan for city council.


Robert Diedrich

Mendota Heights

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