Our opinion: No debate? Only the voters lose
So there won't be a debate about Arbor Park. The hoped-for event would have been this week at the Empire Arts Center in downtown Grand Forks, but it fell through when pro-park supporters opted to not answer the Herald's call to participate. The g...
So there won't be a debate about Arbor Park.
The hoped-for event would have been this week at the Empire Arts Center in downtown Grand Forks, but it fell through when pro-park supporters opted to not answer the Herald's call to participate. The group didn't technically say "no," but just declined to answer one way or another after being repeatedly asked. They also were invited to come in for a meeting to discuss format and potential debate questions, but, again, they didn't respond.
Any issue that involves parks, trees and green spaces always will be sensitive, and that's certainly the case with Arbor Park. Some want the downtown space developed for commercial use; others want it permanently saved as a park. As Herald readers well know, the issue will be settled via citywide election June 20.
But back to the proposed debate. It would have been good for all of Grand Forks, since voters deserve every opportunity to hear both sides of issues that are of great importance to the community.
Informed voters will better understand their role as citizens in a democracy.
Those voters deserve to see the people behind the quotes. We can read all we want on why to vote yes or no on an issue, but nothing helps us learn better than seeing real people being engaged, reasonable, insightful and perhaps even emotional and passionate.
The pro-development group jumped at the chance to debate about Arbor Park. The pro-park people not only chose to not answer the invitation, but even chose to not tell the Herald who is on their board.
Yes, the Herald has openly opined for development of the park. In the end, we suppose our editorial stance probably has much to do with why they chose not to participate.
Although the Herald vowed fairness at the debate, the newspaper's opinion - and this newspaper probably always will have one - shouldn't keep it from trying to further broaden the perspectives of the community. It's our job to inform, and we are constantly learning that informing the public comes via so many methods, new and old. Debates should be part of how we do that.
The pro-park group isn't interested in answering questions in a debate. It's unfortunate, and voters should remember that the group ducked the invitation.
In the end, the only people who lose are the voters - not the Herald, not the pro-development group and not even the pro-park group.