The Ventura County Transportation committee sat under the auspices and stewardship of the able chairman of the committee on the first Friday of April, this year at the county offices. In attendance were the transport committee board members, consultants contracted by the county to give technical expertise on transport matters and the members of the public. There were a number of issues that were raised, discussed and resolved by the meeting. First, it was a review of the bicycle and pedestrian laws so that there will be set rules in line with the national rules to govern bikers and pedestrian safety and welfare while on the road (Debas, 2005). This issue was raised by the public members who were in attendance, since they are the most affected in this respect. The meeting resolved that each and every stakeholder take additional time to meditate and ponder over the issue, so that the next time the meeting is convened, they would present their recommendations on how to proceed on the same.
The second issue that elicited vigour in the meeting was the possibility of enacting a low-income transit fare programs which was raised by the representative of the County administration. He said that this program has been at the top of their priorities, and the administration just needed public participation in order to model the best possible policy. This matter as discussed by the meeting was aimed at encouraging the mobility of low-income earners at minimal cost. Intuitively, the public put the question of who qualifies as a low income earner. As an issue, the question of which parameters and measures will guide the suitability of a low-income earner, which geographic areas would benefit from the pilot program and much more. Thus, this was another key issue which was addressed.
While, at the meeting, I could not stop to wonder how organised the meeting was. From time keeping to refreshment and the orderliness which overrode the meeting seconds none. The sitting arrangement was perfect, in a way that the public members and the administration sat in an adversarial position (facing each other). The experts and the consultants sat in neutral position owing to their input in the matters of the County. However, the meeting had many flaws and things that I would have liked to see and probably the next meeting can improve on them. The issue of postponing critical issues to the next meeting showed a lack of preparedness on the County administration. I expected the administration’s representatives to have ready answers to the burning issues raised by the public. There seemed to be a communication and hierarchical breakdown on the part of the County representation. There was no clear flow on who was answering the questions and at times they gave contradicting answers to the question raised.
Something that missed in the meeting was a proper and coordinated response unit or think tanks which could offer solutions albeit temporarily. The technicians and the experts or the consultants lacked the necessary zeal and impetus to guide on policy matters. I expected that they would have given their input on the matters of who qualifies as a low income earner, and which group of people would or would not benefit from the program. Instead, they left the matter to be handled by the County representatives solely. Over and above everything, I feel that it was a good meeting with positives to take home.
Debas, H. T. (2005). American surgical association blue ribbon committee report on surgical education: 2004. Annals of surgery, 241(1), 1.