Referendum for the Florida Avenue median

■ Chronicle News Staff

Why not discard intermediaries, all with hidden agendas in the raised curb median on an eight-mile stretch of Florida Avenue/Highway 74 and get the real feeling for this project from the residents of Hemet.
During the last several weeks, a number of citizens purporting to represent various segments of the overall population regarding the Florida Avenue median have expressed their opinions either in favor of or against the project. When Caltrans was confronted with the accusation that they have not involved the city sufficiently in the process, the state agency claims to have been in contact with city authorities since 2013.

A “great project”
Back then, Traffic Commission Chairman Steve Covington reportedly told Caltrans officials, “I think in the end we can have a great project if you keep working with us; we want to be a partner with you in this and make it the best for our community and the citizens.” Covington added that it’s the city that will have to live with the project, so its input is important.
City officials have since expressed consternation that Caltrans has not developed any new traffic studies to back up their assertion that the project is necessary in order to make the road safer.
Whenever there’s a conflict over a public works project affecting all of the motorists that pass along Florida Avenue, either to access a business that they customarily patronize, or simply to get from here to there on Florida, you really should get input from the residents.

Simple referendum
A simple referendum where every citizen who wants his or her voice heard on the matter could be held with few resources save for the collective will to put enough muscle behind it to learn the pros and cons of the issue.
Reasonable business owners who feel their interests will be affected by the median should organize the referendum and give the citizens the opportunity to vote on the issue. Never mind the City Council.
No single person, or even a group of individuals claiming that they speak for the best interests of the community, should have the power to make or break a project such as the Florida Raised Median. This power belongs to the people who use the avenue to shop, take their children to school, go to church and work and many other activities. Removing the fire lane that is contemplated in the project is probably not in the best interests of the community.
Stop wasting time arguing for or against and allow the citizens to send a message to Caltrans and the City Council that only the people have the power to decide the issue.

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