In his May 23 guest column, Richland County Councilman Paul Livingston seems to take it personally when citizens question how he or other council members handle county business. If he is that sensitive, he is really in the wrong business and should consider relinquishing his council seat to someone more accepting of citizen concerns. After 25 years of public service, perhaps Mr. Livingston is taking his position on council and his constituents he is sworn to serve for granted.
My concern with the penny tax is County Council’s apparent lack of oversight. Voters were told citizens would have a Transportation Penny Advisory Committee to serve as the public’s eyes, ears and mouthpiece to ensure money was spent as promised. However, County Council made the committee toothless, denying it resources, expertise, independence and access to information. It was often informed about decisions after they were made, rather than having the opportunity to make recommendations.
I am sure there are a number of success stories associated with penny tax. If everything is as Mr. Livingston indicates, there should be no problem with giving the public a closer look at how the funds are being spent. No need to sue if you have nothing to hide.