Here's another example, among many, of how elected and appointed City of Salem officials give citizen involvement the finger, to put it bluntly.
Now I want to share what I've learned about how City officials planned where the police facility should be located in a top-down way without any community input.
Back in January of this year I had a conversation with the lead City staff person for the $80.5 million ($128 million, with financing costs) proposal to build a new Police Facility at the Civic Center and renovate the current buildings there.
Courtney Knox Busch told me that she'd read my blog post, "How City of Salem planned police facility in secretive manner," and wanted to let me know that I was wrong about the City Council not approving the Civic Center location -- just a Council subcommitee.
Well, below is my reply to Ms. Busch concerning what sure seems to be the well-documented truth: the Mayor back in 2010 (Janet Taylor) and City staff decided to start planning for a new police facility at the Civic Center.
What I found, and Ms. Busch didn't disagree with this, is that the Salem City Council didn't explicitly discuss or agree on a Civic Center location for a new police facility. Much less anyone in the broader Salem community.
Yes, on May 24, 2010 the City Council approved an agreement with the University of Oregon to have students engage in some Civic Center planning.
Download May 24, 2010 Agreement
But the staff memo describing the agreement says, "It is anticipated the existing Civic Center may be re-used to accommodate City functions that now reside in leased space if the Police Department is located in a separate facility either on the City-owned Civic Center campus or in another location."
Or in another location. It didn't take long for the Mayor and City Manager to forget those words, and tilt the student project solely toward a Civic Center location.
At the end of this post I explain how this pertains to current efforts to foist a $128 million bond measure on Salem taxpayers who never had an opportunity to be involved in deciding where a new police facility should be located.
Here's the message that went to Courtney Knox Busch:
Courtney, thanks for telling me last night [January 28], before the SCV forum, that my blog post about a city council subcommittee deciding on a Civic Center site was inaccurate. That got me to searching the City web site today for historical information on this subject.
Not the most pleasant experience, I have to say. The web site is difficult to navigate — even for someone like me who is pretty cyberspace savvy.
Download 2009 - 2 Memo re. police facility PDF