On Feb. 7, 2018, Green City Council accepted a settlement from NEXUS in the amount of $7.5 million, or as I like to call it, "chump change." The method used to pass the settlement was beyond suspicious, underhanded, and undermined the sort of democracy in which I so strongly believe. The outcry from the public was the only reason they couldn’t pass the settlement in a closed special council meeting like they tried to do at first. An informational meeting was held where questions were refused an answer. We were forced to sit there, be quiet, and listen as the law director and mayor spoke their version of the settlement, which we now know was a skewed version of the truth.
The following day, over 100 residents attended the special council meeting in which council again refused to answer any questions. Everyone that spoke opposed settling for a high-pressure, 36-inch, gas pipeline being positioned within feet of our parks, homes, and children’s playgrounds. Once the public comment period was complete, the mayor and each member of council read their pre-determined, pre-typed and pre-rehearsed decisions. I felt foolish to ever think that any one of the four council members who voted in favor of the settlement, the mayor, and the law director even remotely cared about our concerns. Citizens begged and pleaded for council and the mayor to do one thing: fulfill the promises they had made. They didn’t counter-offer NEXUS, they didn’t exude all options, they didn’t listen to experts, and didn’t listen to their constituents. They. Let. Us. Down. Now, we must fight back. There is a referendum petition that can reverse this decision, bring it to the ballot box and force our city to listen to us.
For three years, our local government vowed to fight NEXUS to the death of it but instead made a deal with the devil. We must elect representatives that will work for the people, not themselves. Remember this next election cycle.
Justin A. Leonti