Noting the recent rash of crime and violence, New Bedford City Councilor Brian Gomes has requested a public safety summit. The stakeholders are the council, a representative from the Mayor's office and a slew of law enforcement agency officials.

Notably missing from the stakeholder list are the interested subjects who pay the salaries of the before-mentioned stakeholders, the residents and taxpayers of New Bedford.

It's vital to a free and safe society for concerned city residents to have a voice in the public safety matters pertaining to their life and property. It's the residents' chance to reach out to the untouchable, to air grievances and find out their role in the crime fighting solution. It's understandable the official stakeholders need to meet behind closed doors to discuss some specific tactics, it is also extremely important to have the unofficial stakeholders' input. After all the residents have put up with a lot: high taxes, potholed streets, shootings and vandalism. They have earned the right to boldly express themselves to the very body they pay to protect and serve them.

Editor’s Note:   Brian Thomas is the host of Brian’s Beat on 1420 WBSM New Bedford.  He can be heard weekdays from 10am-Noon and Saturdays from 6am-9am.  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.