Opinion

Listening

Every now and then, what we say can really count beyond who we voted for on "American Idol" or "Dancing with the Stars." It seems that many local public agencies are asking for our opinion and taking action accordingly.

The Mercer Island City Council reversed its decision to give $20,000 less this year to help operate Mary Wayte Pool rather than the $100,000 it had been allocating before. Many Islanders, in conversations with neighbors, calls to City Hall and in letters to the editor, expressed their dismay and shock when the funding was cut. City Councilmembers listened and restored the funding for the community asset operated by the nonprofit Northwest Center.

The Planning Commission wisely decided to listen last Wednesday evening. The Commission gave over its entire meeting agenda to hear comments and concerns about the PEAK project. The Commission will continue its deliberations about the project at its next meeting.

A story on page 1 this week concerns the results from a survey conducted by the City of Mercer Island to see what citizens think about its performance providing public services. The city received high marks from Islanders and gained valuable insight as to where they might improve.

Sound Transit has just completed gathering input from transit riders and the public about the agency and its services. The online survey was "not a research instrument" but a public-involvement tool whose purpose is "not to measure public opinion in a scientific way, but rather to provide people with an easy, convenient way to get involved and tell our board what they think about transit," an official said. In response to concerns about some of the survey questions, the agency listened again and revised the survey. Results will be made public shortly.

The Mercer Island School District regularly surveys parents and students. The district recently asked parents to participate in focus groups to determine what the community wants in a new superintendent and has invited the public to meet the finalists. The school district also has what it calls a key communicators group made up of individuals from organizations throughout the community. The group meets periodically to discuss issues of interest to both the schools and the community.

We applaud these efforts and hope they will continue and even increase. A Reporter survey of Island readers has been completed and the results will be printed shortly. We also welcome your comments and letters.

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