THE ISSUE: State’s attorney begins community meetings
OUR VIEW: A welcome effort sure to improve with experience
Our congratulations to La Salle County State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly on the first of her planned series of community meetings.
Such an undertaking has to begin somewhere, and in this case it was Monday at the New Chalet restaurant in Ottawa.
Donnelly and five members of her staff, as well as Ottawa Police Capt. Dave Gualandri, showed up. The turnout was just a handful of people. That might be disappointing to some, but there is something to say about starting small and building from there.
In any event, there is something very refreshing about a public official who has the interest in hearing the unfiltered questions and concerns of their constituents.
For most politicians, it seems, that time is in the weeks or months just before an election: And even then some duck the public if at all possible.
Donnelly fielded questions about her plans for a drug court which would focus on rehabilitation rather than retribution to the crimes committed by drug users.
She also responded to questions about her predecessor’s now-defunct La Salle County State’s Attorney’s Felony Enforcement unit.
Donnelly said she plans to hold similar public forums in other towns in the county, with representatives present from respective police departments. She also is conducting meetings with students at schools.
The setting in the upstairs corner of the restaurant admit nearby conversation and the normal clatter of restaurant operations proved to be a somewhat distracting location.
But we are confident as her community meetings continue that Donnelly will select workable venues and methods to make her visits attractive to residents and productive for all.
Note: Although not one of her meetings, Donnelly will give a public presentation at the 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12, meeting of the Illinois Valley Libertarians at Hank’s Farm Restaurant on Route 71 just south of Interstate 80. The public is welcome.