“Ask Us” Event Sees Citizens, Officials Discuss Concerns, Ideas In Relaxed Fashion

JAMESTOWN – Numerous local officials and city resident utilized the front lawn of Love Elementary School Tuesday evening to discuss various topics and issues during an informal event dubbed “Ask Us”, an event where people could speak freely without fear of violating rules of order. 
The event, organized and hosted by Jamestown City Councilman At-Large Andrew R. Liuzzo (R), featured appearances from County Executive George Borrello, State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, State Senator Cathy Young, as well as multiple City Council members and department heads.
Liuzzo said that one of his goals was to direct people towards officials who could best address their concerns.
“I heard about crime. ‘That’s a great question, go talk to the Chief (Harry Snellings), he’s here to listen to you,'” Liuzzo said. “I’ve heard about housing. ‘There’s Mr. (Jeff) Lehman (Jamestown Public Works Director), go talk to him about it.'”
Snellings told WNYNewsNow that the two major concerns addressed to him involved neighborhood drug activity and cars that played loud music.
Chautauqua County Legislative Chairman P.J. Wendel said events like “Ask Us” allows for officials, like himself, to  have dialogue with community members, and get a better understanding of what they’re going through.
“A night like tonight is easy to come out without a shirt and tie and talk to people and get to know one another,” Wendel said. “As the Chairman, nobody comes up and approaches me at the desk. Here, they can come up and talk to you and they get to ask you questions.”
“I’m sure there’s going to be people saying things maybe we don’t want to hear, but that’s what it’s all about, listening to people and hearing their side and expressing our concerns and giving the information we have.”
Wendel said he understood that people, for whatever reason, may not be able to attend Legislative meetings to voice concerns. Wendel explains that he tries to get out into the community to have as many discussions as possible.
“I try to get out and talk to as many people as I can,” Wendel said. “My phone is always open. Call the house, get ahold of me and we’ll discuss. I like to talk instead of text and email because things get lost in translation.”
City Councilwoman Maria Jones said, in that past, that town hall meetings have taken place. Jones said, however, that they focused primarily on issues but failed to bring ideas. Jones believes the “Ask Us” meeting saw people voice concerns, as well as ideas on how to solve them.
“This is such a relaxed environment that, at this point, we are getting not just concerns given to us but also ideas on what kinds of things can help,” Jones said. “I think that’s why this process is good, because we can all get inside each others heads in a relaxed setting, and that’s when I think ideas start to flow.”
Jones said she believes that a city council meeting will be held in the Chadakoin Park in September. WNYNewsNow will follow up to confirm and publicize the details when they become available.
Liuzzo also pointed out that multiple people registered to vote during the event. We will have another post discussing the importance of voting, through the words of Senator Young.