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July 19, 2017

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Time for police presence at WSNA meetings?

The idea is to force good people to stay home so that they can take control of the organization. It has happened before, so sad to see in such a good system meant to give citizens a voice in their community.

An interesting point you and your audience might find helpful: employees of chamber member businesses are members, themselves.

Some or all of the goon squad may live in West Salem but they still must obey the parliamentarian, allow the Chair to run the meetings and display common courtesy, most especially first time attendees. There are plenty of people in Salem who are sick and tired of the Chamber running roughshod over the wants and needs of the entire city population, raising huge amounts of money to throw elections their way. But it hasn't helped them win council seats, they have lost big lately and may be getting desperate. Maybe we are about to see torrents of cash supporting Chamber candidates so I urge people to make up their own minds, check candidates interests and involvement and be skeptical of who in Salem can afford to fill your mailbox and TV almost daily with their shiny ads.

The values we cherish in a civil society are reason and respect. These are secular ethical and moral values upon which a democracy rests. We cherish a hope that the collective decisions we make are made in the best interests of the polity - be that polity a neighborhood association, or the city, county, state, or nation. Not all of us are willing to show that respect. The nature of politics amidst a population willing to subvert the ethics or the moral values of this hope have produced what we are enduring and will endure as we watch be broken the fetters of reasoned discussion the Founders hoped would bind us into an open and civil society.

There is an explicit problem here - some are tempted to use unethical or immoral processes to influence the collective judgments that drive public policy. When we stop being ethical or moral in the tools and methods we use to develop public policy we then undermine the foundation of civil society that can exist only so long as we respect each other.

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