Through the recent petition to place both the proposed new Animal Shelter and city infrastructure improvements on the ballot for an election this November, Marshall has witnessed firsthand one of the more beautiful privileges that exist in our government.

Because hundreds of voices made themselves heard recently, we are reminded of the importance the framers of the constitution placed on the freedom of speech when our nation was founded, allowing for residents and citizens of our great nation to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

It is this care for the individual that has made the United States a desired place to live for over two centuries and it is that same acknowledgement of the needs of its residents that makes Marshall a desired place to live among the gems of East Texas.

We are proud to live in a nation that allows exercise in democracy and prouder still to live in a community that can articulate its differences peacefully.

Those residents who petitioned to place both of these issues on the ballot did so in order to question the amount, $1.2 million, the commission agreed to spend on the animal shelter, as well as the $2 million total both projects combined will cost.

It is our regret that this petition would also place the one million in infrastructure improvements on the ballot, that will go a long way toward fixing city properties that have waited their turn for renovation for far too long, including the Marshall Visual Arts roof and the City Annex that houses more than a few of our city offices. These are things that need to get fixed as soon as possible and have been overlooked through the years as other projects — more pertinent and more dire – were pursued in their place. We hope these projects will finally have their day to be completed.

It is our desire, however, that if both of these issues do make it to the November ballot, that Marshall residents on both sides of the issue will abide by the decision voted on by the public. The animal shelter has been a divisive subject in our town for too long and we hope to see our residents come to some closure on it and move forward together in unity.