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December 27, 2013


Brian, I am duly impressed, and since you know me you know that doesn't mean a whole lot! But, still and all, a pretty damn good first "go-at-it"!!

Frank H.

the site looks nice, simple, and clean. The only thing that looks off is the logo. A trip through an image editing program like gimp would clean it up easily.

Carl, thanks for the advice. I noticed that the logo appeared really pixelated when I copied it into iPhoto from a screen capture. The guy who made it is going to send me a higher resolution version of the "Salem Community Vision" type. But the logo itself might need some fine-tuning also.

Frank, your being "duly impressed" does indeed mean a whole to me. It is SO much better than your being unduly impressed. Which I guess, would be an unworthy impression. Still, I'd take even the unduly version.

looks good!

No surprise, Steering Committee Vision's latest website just says "there is a better way. A less expensive way", but doesn't say what that "way" is, and provides even less opportunity for input/interaction than on the FB page, where one can at least post comments.

Like the FB page, this new site posts no information about the people who make up the steering committee, their personal interests or biases, or the basis for their conclusion that there is a "better way." And even though SCV claims to be the "community vision", there's no way for a member of the community to become a member of SCV on this newest site, even a nominal online member, and no way to participate in SCV decisions, or engage SCV in a public forum. There's not even the pretense of interest in community input on this newest SCV site; the community is asked just to endorse the steering committee view (sign SCV's petition or resolution or write a "Me, too!" email to city officials), not share their own. But, hey, nice website, Brian.

Sarah, it's easy to curse the darkness; more difficult to light a candle. You are found of criticizing Salem Community Vision's efforts to open up the City of Salem's decision-making processes and foster greater citizen involvement in public policy making.

If you had clicked on the new web site's blog, or read the old site put up by Geoff James, you would have seen a lengthy list of community meetings Salem Community Vision is participating in next month.

Neighborhood Association meetings. A Rotary Club meeting. Hopefully a City Club meeting. There will be more.

I keep asking you if are opposed to more citizen discussion of the City's $70-85 million proposal for a new police facility and Civic Center seismic retrofitting -- which so far has gotten almost exactly zero input of, or involvement by, Salem citizens and taxpayers.

You don't answer. I have to assume that you share Salem Community Vision's goal. You just want to nit-pick on how this group of unpaid volunteers is going about its business.

That's fine. Nit-picking can be enjoyable.

Leaving critical blog comments doesn't take much time or energy. Trying to make Salem a better place does, which is why I've been hugely impressed by how much time and effort, plus some of their own money, these Salem Community Vision volunteers have been putting in.

So continue to curse what you see as the darkness of Salem Community Vision. We'll continue to try to light some candles.

Interesting that you see charges of hypocrisy/inconsistency with stated values as "nits." Good to know.

I was aware of the list (not lengthy) of presentations that Gene and Geoff will be making in January about the proposed police facility. I would not have thought it appropriate to discuss SCV's organizational issues in those forums. Do you think otherwise? Do you not think your blog is an inappropriate place to challenge your "light in the darkness" image of SCV? Is it just for fans, then? Tell me, and I'll go away.

Speaking of unanswered questions (posted in response to your repeated assertions that $30 million can be saved on the Civic Center project/proposal):

"See, Brian, here's the thing. If Steering Committee Vision has no specific alternate plan or proposal, but just the questions and "No"s set out in its brochure (which the FB characterizes as containing "the details of the SCV alternative proposal" (at least until your spin doctors correct it), then their "experts" had/have no basis in fact for saying it is possible to provide a "Civic Center Police Facility and seismic retrofitting of City Hall...for $37.5 million" (from SCV's petition), and there is no factual basis -- just your belief in your experts' abilities -- for characterizing the City's preliminary proposal/plan was "ill-considered", "hugely expensive", "wasteful", "crazy" (quoting Geoff) or "bloated." (All from your November 6 blog.) Moreover, that kind of propaganda erodes trust and prejudices the citizenry against the city, as it is intended to do, and insults everyone's intelligence, thereby chilling, rather than encouraging civic engagement. Perhaps most important of all in this context, it substantially decreasing the chances that ANY bond measure will pass.

If what Steering Committee Vision wanted was consideration of "responsible and affordable" alternate proposal, its leaders would have accepted the City's recent invitation to have their alleged proposal/plan included in the information that will be given to City Council. They didn't do that, so I don't believe SCV wants what it says it wants, or that its claims are based on anything other than speculation. Noting you have a mere 15 signatures on your petition, at least half of which are the Steering Committee's, I suspect I am not alone in what you call my "false beliefs" about Steering Committee Vision."

Since that post, the petition has picked up one more signature, from "Concerned Citizen", New York City, NY.

Sarah, it's pretty clear that we have different views about citizen involvement, questioning authorities, public discourse, and such.

That's fine.

If you consider that the City's proposal for a new police facility and seismic retrofitting of the Civic Center is fine just as it is, and doesn't require open review, discussion, and debate by Salem taxpayers/citizens, naturally you're entirely entitled to your opinion.

I just ask you to give other people, such as those of us active in Salem Community Vision, the same opportunity to hold their own views -- whether they be the same or different from yours.

I also encourage you to look more closely at Salem Community Vision informational materials, most of which can be perused at http://www.salemcommunityvision.com

You'll find a bunch of good questions that Salem Community Vision believes should be addressed by the City of Salem.

Such as, does it make sense to construct very expensive underground parking for a new police facility? And whether the best use of public property adjacent to Pringle Creek and close to the riverfront is for a three story "office" building that infringes on Mirror Pond open/green space.

I was raised by a mother who taught me to ask questions. I guess that's one reason I'm enjoying my connection with Salem Community Vision. Being scientifically minded, I'm an inveterate questioner of received wisdom, including my own.

The website works with Google Chrome.

HTML5 is just a new standard from the web gods that codifies and standardizes the HTML code-tool so that it can be used internet-wide without much effort. (Just the issue you are asking about; the browser makers try to address the standards so all can view what is presented.)

The latest integrates some JavaScript functionality as standard to HTML. So now, with HTML, things like motion and interactivity (like the way you have the pages on the webpage 'swipe' from side to side).

Nice job for a first timer! CONGRATS!!

Lew, thanks for the congrats. I did do my part, but Wix makes it really easy to look like a "real" web designer. I'm impressed with this web service - though I admit I haven't tried any of their competitors.

I'm leaning toward moving my personal web site to Wix, since now I am paying about as much for just web site hosting, without any design software included. In that sense, Wix strikes me as a good deal.

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