By the people, for the people

There are those instances where the democratic process works out just fine. Take the past week in this area, for instance.

Nearly 2,400 people voted in the May 9 election for Indian River School District School Board. Correction — nearly 2,400 people voted for the District 4 seat race between longtime incumbent Charles Bireley and exciting challenger Jackie Wilson. It was a hotly-contested race, and the subject of many local water cooler conversations.

And the public actually got out and voted ... in record numbers.

The fact that Wilson received over 1,000 votes, and still came up short, speaks volumes. It says that there were a lot of supporters on her side, and that there were a lot of supporters on Bireley’s side — and that both sides felt it was important enough to take the time and cast their votes.

This is what a democracy is all about — conversation and interest. Issues were discussed, and people made their decisions. Let’s only hope that trend continues for local elections to come in the future.

The democratic process was also in full view last week in Fenwick Island. The town council held a hearing discussing proposed floor-area ratio (FAR) controls on home size in the town. The hearing was designed so the public could have their say to council before a vote was taken.

Well, they had their say.

Though the debate often got a bit heated and terse, the emotions of the public got people on the council and in the audience discussing the need for the public to be better informed and discussion of a referendum was bantered about for some time.

We are not calling for a referendum on this issue, nor are we saying it is not necessary. On one side, a referendum does indeed get a truer account of residents’ feelings about the issue. On the other side, Fenwick Island is a representative government, where people are elected to vote in the interests of their constituents.

Regardless of how this turns out, you have to love the open dialogue and consideration of residents’ feelings.