It was democracy at its finest: Area residents gathered Saturday morning in Cedar's restaurant in downtown Youngstown to debate an issue of interest to all, traffic cameras in the city of Girard.
My heartfelt thanks to all who attended and stayed for more than two hours to not only hear two individuals who are passionate about their differing positions on this important issue, but also to express their own opinions.
To Atty. David Betras, who has challenged the constitutionality of Girard's ordinance that permits cameras to b e used, and Mike Nagel, a New Middletown resident who believes the cameras are a legal, effective law enforcement tool, I say bravo. You both performed admirably and intelligently. This debate wasn't about winning or losing. It was giving residents the opportunity to hear arguments for an against and to decide for themselves whether or not the cameras are a good idea.
The debate was sponsored by vindy.com and the success of the first one has inspired us to make this a regular event. The next vindy.com public forum will be held in February and the topic will be former Congressman James A. Traficant Jr.
Keep monitoring this blog for further information.
Saturday's debate not only featured Betras and Nagel as the main players, but also had Girard Mayor James Melfi, state Sen. Robert F. Hagan and state Rep. John Boccieri in the spotlight. They provided the public policy arguments for and against the cameras.
Their participation was appreciated.
If there is one conclusion that can be drawn from the about the traffic cameras, it is this: The Ohio Supreme Court and, perhaps, the U.S. Supreme Court will have to be the final word.