NEW BEDFORD, MA – There is nothing more important to any community process, than public input. Our democratic system of government depends on allowing everyone’s voice to be heard, and once elected to the City Council; Ralf Rho plans to introduce citizen input time to each and every City Council meeting.

Ralf Rho, a first time Candidate for City Councillor-at-Large entered the race for many reasons, but at its very core, he believes New Bedford residents deserve more from their government.

“As I continue to meet with residents throughout our community, I am hearing a common theme, whether it’s in the far North End, the West End, the East or the South End there is a belief that our City Council does not care to include the public in the decision making process,” stated Rho. “As a candidate I remain committed to going street-by-street, block-by-block, and neighborhood-by-neighborhood to understand their concerns, and to deliver my message. As an elected official, I will take that same approach by opening up our meetings and allowing time for residents to speak.”

Currently New Bedford City Council meetings are open for citizen input only for Appointments and Briefings Committee at the discretion of the Chairperson. Many of our surrounding communities allow time either at the start or completion of each meeting to allow for citizen input.

“If people believe back room deals are being struck, let’s end that belief. Let’s bring the public into the fold, so that sound decisions can be made with citizen input for the improvement of our community.”

Rho believes the City Council has the duty, and the responsibility, not only to respect this principle, but also to conduct the legislative process in the open, allowing ample time for public comment and input.

“Whether it’s for Councillors to vote on a pay raise for themselves, debating a $3 million school deficit, or whether to discuss fees and tax increase to sustain our local budget, the public should be invited to speak.”

By Matt Camara | Standard-Times