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Public excluded from Holland government study session on energy future

October 31, 2012

This article was written by Holland resident and activist Nicole Berens-Capizzi.

On Monday, October 29, Holland City Council and Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) held a joint study session at the Doubletree Hotel in Holland to discuss the city’s energy future.  On August 8, HBPW announced the results of the year-long Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI) analysis that favored building a new 114 MW natural gas power plant and possibly retiring the James DeYoung coal-fired power plant.  Though this is not yet official, it is clear after the joint study session that the city is leaning heavily in the direction of supporting their proposal recommendation.  This has concerned individuals in the Holland community and abroad.  City council has not yet voted on this proposal, but a vote could come as early as November.

Residents of Holland, myself included, believe that city council has been rushing this decision with very little input from the public.  Though city council and HBPW have continuously promoted the idea that this decision making process has been very transparent and inclusive, many feel that they have not had a fair opportunity to speak up and voice their concerns.  The city has not only excluded members of the community from appointments to the generation task force, but they have also excluded public participation in Risk Assessment Panel (RAP) meetings this past summer.  The meeting on Monday would be no exception.  Even though the public was invited to this meeting, we were told we could not comment or ask questions.

After discussing these issues with others in the community and following the suggestion of another activist, I decided to organize a call-in on the day of the meeting to HBPW and local media, including the Holland Sentinel, 1450 AM WHTC/92.7 FM The Van, 89.9 FM The Voice of Hope College, and the Grand Rapids Press.  I wrote scripts for people to reference when calling or emailing these organizations.  Some received a response from Angela Badran of HBPW.  In her email response, she denied that HBPW has excluded the public throughout this process.  She stated that they “invited members of the community from various interest groups (education (Hope College, Holland Public Schools), environmental (West Michigan Environmental Action Council), government (City Council/BPW Board), business (Haworth, Herman Miller, Holland Hospital), downtown development (Lakeshore Advantage, Downtown Development Authority), and other interest groups, such as League of Women Voters, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, and Young Professionals).”  The individuals from these “interest groups” are members of the RAP panel and are supposed to represent the interests of the public.  In a response put together by Monica Hallacy, another Holland resident and clean energy advocate, she pointed out how some of these groups have not attended while others don’t necessarily have the community’s best interests at heart.  “Hope College, Holland Public Schools, Holland Hospital all have a vested interest in district heating and are not groups truly representing the community,” said Ms. Hallacy. Energy efficiency experts and statewide environmental groups were also excluded – especially disappointing since the Sierra Club was booted from the RAP panel earlier this year. So far, HBPW has not followed up with this response.

Prior to the meeting on Monday, I stood outside the Doubletree Hotel and handed out information on fracking to individuals entering the meeting.  This included a list of some of the chemicals used in fracking (including their classification as carcinogens and hazardous air pollutants), an info sheet on why we want to ban fracking in Michigan, an article entitled “Health Professionals Raise Concerns about ‘Fracking’” put forth by Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a list of websites with more information on fracking.  Paul Elzinga, a HBPW board member and also a RAP panel member, declined to take any information and told me they had solid information on fracking from a geologist they consulted with.  Shortly before entering the meeting I was approached by Annette Manwell from the Holland Sentinel and briefly interviewed about my concerns.  An article detailing the outcome of the meeting, including a sidebar on the public’s opposition to a natural gas plant, was published later that night.

The meeting began with a brief opportunity for the public to comment, which lasted less than five minutes.  Prior to the meeting we had been told we would not have the opportunity to comment, so many did not come prepared to make a statement.  Perhaps the phone calls and emails to HBPW and local media persuaded city council and HBPW to allow this brief comment period.  Regardless, this still did not allow us the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns regarding the actual content of the meeting.

Seated at the front of the room were twenty-three members of the RAP panel (one of whom left about halfway through the meeting).  Included in the panel was a representative from Holland Hospital, Holland League of Women Voters, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, Lakeshore Advantage, Riverview Group, and WMEAC.  The remaining members represented either city council or HBPW.  Dave Koster, General Manager of HBPW, conducted the presentation.

Mr. Koster began the meeting by discussing how transparent he believes the decision making process has been, as well as inclusive of the public.  As examples, he mentioned accounts for P21: Holland, MI Energy Decision on various social networking sites as well as billboards.  He continued to promote this point of view for the duration of the evening.

In this study session, Mr. Koster referenced results of the SROIanalysis, including certain diagrams from this report in his PowerPoint presentation.  This analysis was conducted by HDR Inc., an engineering firm that Mr. Koster noted has particular expertise in economics.  This focus on economics was clear throughout the night.  While the term “sustainability” was liberally used, there was a stronger focus on the “bottom line” and what the monetary cost of various options would be.  Mr. Koster referenced seven scenarios (A-G) during the meeting, but for anyone who didn’t have each of these scenarios memorized, this was difficult to follow (RAP panelists had summaries of these scenarios at their disposal while the public wasn’t given any useful literature to accompany this presentation or any other RAP meeting).  Throughout the study session, natural gas scenarios (A, B, G) were touted as being the cleanest and most economically viable options.  At no point did anyone mention how fracking, the process of drilling for natural gas, makes relying on natural gas as a power source just as dirty (if not moreso) than relying on coal.

About two-thirds of the way through the study session, Mr. Koster presented the staff recommendation.  This was not based on one specific scenario, but rather a combination of these options.  HBPW concluded building a new 114 MW natural gas power plant to be the best option, noting the huge burden placed on the grid during summer months.  Ironically, and perhaps as an attempt to green wash this recommendation, one RAP panelist suggested this natural gas power plant be LEED certified.  Mr. Koster agreed this would be a great idea.  In addition to natural gas, HBPW recommended finalizing a 10-year PowerPurchase agreement with E-ON Wildcat I for 15 MW of wind generation near Elwood, Indiana, and also completing a 20-year agreement with Beebe Community Wind Farm LLC for 17 MW of wind generation in Ithaca, Michigan.  Just last month, HBPW announced it was dropping plans to develop its own wind farm – yet when it comes to natural gas, they say it is necessary for Holland to own its own generation. There is some disagreement between HBPW and city council as to the fate of the James DeYoung coal-fired power plant.  Unit 5 would likely be closed within three to four years because it will no longer meet EPA regulations.  Units 3 and 4, however, might not be subject to these regulations and could possibly burn natural gas (in addition to the proposed natural gas power plant).

The study session concluded with a four-point Likert scale survey of RAP panelists and a discussion among panelists on areas where there was disagreement.  Panelists used an electronic device to record their level of agreement with a variety of statements.  Approximately 86% of panelists agreed that the community had ample opportunity to give their input.  The same percentage agreed that the P21 process covered significant issues associated with the community’s power generation decision.  Of particular concern was the agreement with the statement that pursuing natural gas as our primary energy source meant moving our community toward a cleaner energy future: 86%.  This survey of RAP panelists was one more way in which HBPW and city council provided the illusion they were including the public by having panelists represent our concerns.  These are questions they should have been asking the public who attended the meeting, not RAP panelists (the majority of which were HBPW and city council members).  As this survey was carried out and the public witnessed responses given on their behalf without the ability to actually speak up, I could not help but feel that our concerns and opinions were no more represented by these panelists than they are by elected officials.  Holland citizens did not have the opportunity to raise concerns about natural gas and fracking, why the city is not focusing more on renewable energy such as wind and solar power, or why we as citizens don’t focus on reducing our consumption of electricity in combination with introducing cleaner energy options and phasing out more resource intensive and environmentally destructive forms of energy.  Prior to and during the meeting, we have been told by HBPW and city council that we the people had the opportunity to speak our minds throughout this process.  As members of the community, we couldn’t have possibly felt more excluded Monday night.

One RAP panelist raised an important question after the survey was finished; he asked whether or not the potential for pipeline breaks or possible terrorist acts were taken into consideration when deciding the future location of the new natural gas power plant.  Mr. Koster tip-toed around this question and said that HBPW’s recommendation was very diversified.  No one called him out for not answering the question.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. David Koster - HBPW General Manager permalink
    October 31, 2012 7:08 pm

    I take great exception to the headline and misleading nature of this article. The headline, “Public excluded from Holland government study session on energy future,” is simply not true. It was an open, public meeting, as evidenced by the fact that Ms. Berens-Capizzi was there.

    The accusations that Ms. Berens-Capizzi has made—both in this article and in other writings—are also patently untrue. The energy planning process in Holland has been (and continues to be) a completely open and transparent one. In addition to the RAP Panel meetings, BPW has held two days of open public comment meetings and another dedicated to a public question and answer session. BPW has also posted public comments and questions, both supportive and critical, to the p21decision.com website.

    The decision Ms. Berens-Capizzi claims is being rushed through with little public input has in fact been considered openly in numerous public meetings for more than a year, and fully chronicled step-by-step in the Holland Sentinel, Grand Rapids Press and other media outlets.

    Nor is the matter closed. As a resident of Holland, Ms. Berens-Capizzi has every right to make her views known to members of the City Council, the Mayor, and the Holland BPW Board of Directors, all of whom are the policy makers who will ultimately decide what direction we will take. I encourage her to do so, but reject her assertions that she is somehow being excluded from exercising that right.

    I believe that what upsets Ms. Berens-Capizzi is not that she was not heard. It was that facts, data and objective analysis have not led to a result that she finds acceptable. Not satisfied with the results, she is attacking the process. In truth, any exclusion she feels from the process is of her own manufacture.

  2. Michael Tully permalink
    October 31, 2012 8:04 pm

    “RAP panelists had summaries of these scenarios at their disposal while the public wasn’t given any useful literature to accompany this presentation or any other RAP meeting.”

    –They’ve made every last scrap of information available on their website. You would think an “environmentalist” might appreciate appreciate the savings of energy and landfill space inherent in this approach.

  3. October 31, 2012 10:02 pm

    Michael, I was not at this meeting so I can’t speak to the issue of what was made available to the public, but I do want to address your comment about information being online and that “environmentalists might appreciate appreciate the savings of energy and landfill space inherent in this approach”

    I take that comment as there is somehow something better environmentally about information online as opposed to in print form. While it is true there is an awful lot of print material that ends up in the recycle bin or in landfills, to say that people accessing information online is somehow more environmentally friendly is just not based in fact. First, where does the electricity come from to power people’s ability to run a computer? If you are in this area it probably comes from the coal-powered plant near Holland and that has serious ecological consequences, from the mining of coal, to the transportation to the burning of it.

    Then there is the issue of ecological damage done in the mining of resources for computers and the chemicals in the manufacturing computers and other electronic devices used to access online info. A good overview of the ecological costs of computers and other electronic devices used to access information is The Story of Electronics http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-electronics/. The point however, is to just clarify that your comment about what “environmentalists” should appreciate is not what as you say in my opinion.

  4. Mitchel Capizzi permalink
    November 1, 2012 12:51 am

    Mr. Coster:

    I take great exception to your misuse of the term “open, public meeting.” You insinuate that simply being present qualifies as participating, but when you officially allow a mere five minutes at the beginning of the meeting for public comment, you make it clear that you have no desire to know what the general public thinks on the actual discussion.

    How can you claim the whole process is “completely open and transparent” when constituent input is disallowed at the actual meetings, or in response to the meetings? It’s also difficult to claim to represent the public interest when you are appointed rather than elected. It’s very easy to try to discredit an author by simply calling their work “untrue” and then not offering any evidence to the contrary.

    We as citizens were excluded from participating in the study session. If you want to try to debate semantics and try to deny that, I welcome you to visit 4chan.org and let those of us who stay on topic continue here.

    It could be openly disputed that your “analysis” was not objective in regards to anything other than financial motivations, given that the primary recommendation was to put almost all the city’s eggs in one giant, natural-gas-fired basket. So what happens if prices jump more than you expect? What happens if a moratorium or ban is enacted? What happens to prices then, and what happens to the constituents of Holland who have been locked into this position? The fact of the matter is that the “analysis” made the assumption that natural gas will both always be available and always economical.

    Wind and sunlight are not a victim of futures for pricing, and I applaud the board’s activities in regards to Wildcat I and the project near Ithaca. That is one thing I agree with in regards to the session Monday night. I do, however, think that more foresight is necessary in regards to renewable energy; after installation and grid integration, the only costs to maintaining a wind farm or solar field are maintenance and administrative overhead; there is no physical fuel source to purchase, transport, or store. Additionally, they produce no pollution outside of their manufacture, which would mean less environmental reasons for public health crises. I find it very difficult to understand why any organization charged with the public good could in good conscience put the health of their constituents below ANY other issue – let alone economics.

    I appreciate the fact that the meeting was available for public attendance, but that is not the same as being open to the public; open to the public implies involvement, and I like I said previously, attendance is not participation.

  5. Michael Tully permalink
    November 1, 2012 3:06 pm

    So, your lengthy response is environmentally destructive? Shame on you.

  6. November 1, 2012 3:15 pm

    Another stupid response I see. I was never claiming purity, but this is not about personal behavior and the environment, it is about a structural understanding of what causes environmental destruction. Like energy systems, like the one near Holland which burns coal. Most of us had no say in its creation, which is precisely why we want a say in future energy systems. Despite your efforts to take the focus away from the real issue, none of us are buying it.

  7. Michael Tully permalink
    November 2, 2012 12:11 am

    Ah, the name calling begins. Be careful, name calling will make you seem like a marginalized irrelevance, bleating from the fringe. Oh, wait… too late.

    I’m not trying to take the focus away from the real issue. I’m trying to expand it. The issue is environmental destruction, right? Because smothering self righteousness is as toxic to the human soul as PCBs are to the liver. It’s another environmental realm.

    It is a pathetic, whiny thing for you to cry about “having a say.” Are you censored? Are you repressed? Are you in some way prohibited from having expressing your grievances to elected officials? Do you understand how representative democracy works? You should, if you are going to put the word in your masthead. It means you get a voice and a vote, like everyone else. If the people entrusted with decisions don’t make the ones you like, vote again and better luck next time.

    By all means have your say. You should. You MUST. But understand that having your say doesn’t guarantee having your way. People who get democracy get that.

  8. November 2, 2012 12:29 am

    I did not call you a name, just your response, there is a difference. And now you want to lecture me on democracy, as another way of avoiding the issues.That you equate democracy with voting, certainly shows the limitations of what we are trying to draw attention to. Perhaps this discussion would be better served in person, so you can not avoid what is at stake here.

  9. November 2, 2012 1:02 am

    Ironic for you to talk about bleating at the fringe… in what way do you benefit by trolling here?

    You most certainly *are* trying to redirect the conversation into one of a broader topic. It’s no different than divide and conquer; by spreading the conversation that allows you more topics by which to argue, you attempt to weaken the argument for the issue at hand. The issue is that they claim the meetings to be open and transparent, but at the same time don’t allow public comment at those same meetings. It’s as simple as that, and trying to broaden the argument into a systemic one is just an attempt to dilute the topic.

    And by Jeff and I responding to you, you’ve shifted the topic in the discussion into a he-said/she-said bickering match. Was that your goal? Referring to the cause of democracy as pathetic and whiny sure doesn’t do much to help your credibility.

  10. Nicole Berens-Capizzi permalink
    November 2, 2012 1:06 am

    This is silly, and clearly an attempt to start a flame war. It won’t work. This is not a space for trolling, but for intelligent discussion. No one here has claimed perfection. We all participate in this system, and whether we agree to live within it or withdraw from it, we are perpetuating it either way. It seems more than out of place for someone who doesn’t know or understand me to claim to have some idea of what should make me “happy”. Jeff hit the nail on the head in his response. No form of communication, whether electronic, print, etc., is without its impact. To acknowledge this is not fringe or self-righteous, but rather, acknowledging reality.

    In my article I criticized HBPW for not providing material to the public because openness involves communication. Transparency means making information as accessible as possible. If HBPW’s intention was making the content of the meeting as understandable as possible to those who attended, the very least they could have done was provide literature in packet form or, for that matter, had a summary of the scenarios on a separate projector. Or they could have gone over these details with the public. Instead, these materials were only available to the RAP panelists and the rest of us were left in the dark. The meeting was carried out in such a manner that we the public may as well have not been present…it wouldn’t have changed how the meeting was conducted in any way. For such a supposedly open and inclusive process, that seems like a big problem to me.

  11. November 2, 2012 2:28 am

    In response to Dave Koster:

    While I like to believe HBPW has good intentions, I believe differently for a number of reasons.

    The first RAP Panel convened on September 28, 2011, with 16 panelists according to HBPW’s P21 website, and entities represented include City Council, BPW Board, BPW staff, City of Holland Sustainability Committee, City of Holland Historic District, Riverview Group, Holland Chamber, Haworth, Herman Miller, Hope College, Holland Public Schools, West Michigan Environmental Action Council and Sierra Club.

    The second RAP Panel met on November 3, 2011, and a P21 blog post reports that in addition to the list above, the following entities took part: Holland Hospital, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council (MACC), Ottawa County MI Works, and Holland League of Women Voters (HLWV).

    While HBPW proudly touts groups like Holland Young Professionals participated in the process, it is simply UNTRUE.

    Meeting materials were not made available to the public before or during either RAP session.

    On September 28, Panelists were told to expect a final Charrette on January 12, 2012, after the SROI results came back. On November 3, that date was changed to February 8.

    In addition to the RAP Sessions, weekly P21 presentations were scheduled through mid-December and the series was heavily advertised. I, and other friends, attended and signed in at each to receive updates on the process. However, participation dwindled and the December 1 & 8 presentations were abruptly cancelled and the final presentation was rescheduled for December 15.

    No email was sent to the community participants who signed in at previous presentations and no notice was posted on P21’s website or Facebook to announce the cancellations. In fact, Facebook went totally dead from January 19 to July 9.

    The P21 Charrette suffered numerous delays without explanation. On April 27, a P21 blog post said that it would be held early summer. Then at a May HBPW board meeting, we heard August. HBPW Board Chairman Tim Hemingway asked Koster to make sure they scheduled presentations with key community groups so everyone could fully understand the results.

    Months went by with no advertisements, media or emails to RAP Panelists. Then on July 27, a P21 blog post announced the SROI results would be presented on August 8. During the height of summer, Panelists were given only two weeks’ notice to attend. Community participants still hadn’t received ONE email from HBPW announcing that the long-awaited results were in.

    HBPW does not list attendance for the August 8 meeting…perhaps because it was so poor. Were people too busy? Or had they lost interest with so many delays and no communication? According to my notes and HBPW sign-in sheets, only the following community RAP Panelists attended: Riverview, WMEAC, HLWV, Holland Hospital and MACC – a significant drop since last fall. You can see all the empty chairs in the video.

    The language used to promote the August 8 meeting on P21, Facebook and Holland Sentinel advertisements, said the meeting was “open for community members to observe.” This was confirmed in an email response from HBPW’s Board Secretary stating, “anyone is welcome to attend and listen/watch.” Once again, no materials were made available to the public prior to or during the presentation.

    After the extremely technical SROI report was released without public comment or discussion, environmental groups pressured HBPW to have a public forum. HBPW responded and announced on August 22 that public hearings were scheduled for September 4 & 5. Dave Koster led the hearing, but only four HBPW Board members and three City Council members attended the first night, less the second, some not at all.

    Now, just a few problems to note about the chosen dates.. September 4 was the day after Labor Day and September 5 was the first day back for Holland schools. Additionally, HBPW hadn’t held any other meetings to present the report to community groups. In fact, two entities that had been an integral part of the process – the City’s Sustainability Committee and the Holland Community Energy Advisory Group – had actually cancelled their August meetings due to confusion and being left out of loop for months. In fact, neither chair attended August 8. The Sustainability Committee finally met on September 17 and a very brief summary of the report was presented.

    So how were people supposed to comment and ask questions when groups hadn’t been approached like Hemingway requested? A Q&A Session was held September 24 but word was just starting to spread to important groups in the community. At the October 29 Study Session, Koster proudly reported that several key meetings had taken place, but most were after September 24 and few were public. Last fall HBPW hosted a large, public Chamber breakfast, yet this fall they presented to a closed sub-committee.

    Again, less than two weeks notice was given for the final October 29 RAP “Capstone” event. Only seven non-City Council/HBPW Board panelists attended. However, two of those serve on related city committees. What was originally designed to be an all-day Charrette facilitated by a third party, somehow turned into another controlled HBPW report despite them promising to “invite a broader group of leaders and thinkers from across the community,” per an April 27 blog post.

    So while the HBPW presents a beautiful picture about what a great job they did reaching the community, a majority of those efforts were either last fall or after the September hearings and Q&A and not public. Sad, but true. Residents were forced to seek out information on their own and forced to comment and ask questions when it was convenient for HBPW. While the public technically has been “heard,” they have not had the opportunity to engage in the discussions and be heard by decision makers when it counted most.

    Now HBPW thinks they have enough input for a vote, but I strongly disagree. People are finally getting up to speed and HBPW’s recent recommendations and October 29 report raise more questions than they answer.

    How did we end up with a recommendation that leaves Holland running two natural gas plants? Should HBPW be involved in the risky business of buying and selling natural gas to third parties at the community’s expense? Shouldn’t we wait and see what kind of energy efficiency improvements can be made first? What about more renewables? We already have more than 100MW of natural gas capacity, but HBPW claims most is too dated to be used effectively. Won’t that be the case by the time we need 114MW?

    Once we build this plant, we’re stuck with it forever. I don’t want to look back in regret 15 years from now when clean energy is booming all around us and were stuck burning fossil fuels downtown for decades to come.

  12. Nicole Berens-Capizzi permalink
    November 2, 2012 4:06 am

    What I take great exception to is the implication that I am making this up or somehow attempting to be misleading. The arguments I have made in my article are based on my personal observations and experiences, as well as the experiences of others within the community.

    Just because we were able to attend this meeting (and past meetings) does not mean they were open. Without the opportunity for the public to engage in dialog with decision makers and other community members during the meeting, you can hardly call it open. It’s clear from our experiences, as well as Monica’s response, that these meetings haven’t been nearly as open as you claim.

    HBPW did not post actual comments from the public on the P21 site, but instead a summary of the comments. This is not the same thing.

    You are right, I am attacking the process because it has serious problems. How can you call this analysis “objective” when it was conducted by a firm specializing in economics? Focusing on the monetary “bottom line” is hardly taking a comprehensive look at the various aspects of this issue. Having a RAP panel (which consists mainly of city council and HBPW board members) “represent” the public shows a serious conflict of interest. Attempts to greenwash this plan by calling for a LEED certified natural gas power plant, while ignoring the very real environmental destruction caused by drilling for natural gas, reveals either serious oversight or an attempt to dupe the public. There has not been enough honest, open opportunities for the public to engage with the RAP panel during “public” meetings.

    If the response I received here is any indication of how open HBPW is to dissent, it seems our feedback is quite unwelcome.

  13. Todd Whiteman, Councilman 5th Ward, City of Holland permalink
    November 2, 2012 3:29 pm

    Just a quick correction. Holland Young Professionals has been included in the conversations. Going back prior to Monica and others arriving at the issue a number of public meetings were held in City Wards (for residents) and other groups were engaged in that process. These meetings were facilitated by a highly respected consultant here in Holland, Mark DeRoo. Not only did I attend the one in my ward, I attended the one with Holland Young Professionals, and the one with large corporate customers of HBPW. 1 person showed up at the Ward 5 meeting. Interestingly enough he was not there to discuss energy, rather another unrelated topic that was important to him. The Holland Young Professionals group was held at City Vu hotel and had around 15 participants. The group participated well in the process. Monica has requested a meeting with me and I agreed, unfortunately she had a schedule conflict and has yet to reschedule with me. She has spoken to us before, I am unsure as to why she chose not to speak on Monday night, only she can answer that. It seems to be asserted by Nicole that 5 minutes is the sum total of public comment time for all. That is inaccurate. Each person can speak for 5 minutes on any topic they choose. Nicole did not speak on Monday either when the opportunity was there. 1 person spoke of over 20 in the audience. I am open to discussing the merits of clean energy as a decision maker on this, but it is patently false to say that there is a joint effort between Council and HPBW to silence anyone on this.

  14. Nicole Berens-Capizzi permalink
    November 2, 2012 4:39 pm

    I made this point earlier, and I would like to make it again. Giving us five minutes to speak our mind prior to the meeting is not the same as having an open dialog between the public and the RAP panel during the meeting. Were we supposed to know ahead of time what would be discussed? No relevant information was available online or in print prior to the meeting, so this would have been very difficult. That would have been the only way we could ask necessary questions or make comments, as a community, regarding the contents of the meeting. There was no opportunity for us (as a community) to discuss our concerns about the content of the meeting with city council, HBPW, or other RAP panelists. Mr. Koster conducted the presentation, RAP panelists were given a survey that would have been more appropriate if directed to the public, and the meeting ended. Where was our opportunity to discuss the presentation with others during this “open meeting”? It’s simple, there was no such opportunity.

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