This is Day 1 of the Mayor Anna Peterson apology/retraction watch. No response yet to the email I sent her, with a cc to the Salem City Council.
I said what I did after listening to Peterson make a preachy, inaccurate mini-speech during a testy exchange at last night's City Council meeting.
She was fighting mad about the calm, reasoned, truthful things architect Geoffrey James was saying during the public comment period about the City's overpriced $80 million proposal for a new police facility at the Civic Center and renovations to City Hall.
Councillor Laura Tesler, seemingly operating from a script of attempted "gotcha" questions, had flamed out on her desperate attempt to challenge James' credentials and expertise. James handled his answers with aplomb and courtesy.
Unlike Tesler. And then, Peterson.
I couldn't believe that Mayor Peterson was actually claiming that the process used to select the Civic Center as the best location for a new police facility had been open to public view, and offered citizens good opportunities to weigh in on the decision.
Here's how the Statesman Journal reported it in "Salem City Council faces critics of new Civic Center."
James also recommended considering alternative locations for the police department as a cost-saving measure, and Peterson countered by saying the city looked at 16 alternative locations.
“I want to dispel what I’m hearing that we have not been open; that we have not been available to the public,” Peterson said. “This is not a city council or a city government that lightheartedly drew up plans.”
I knew this was untrue, having put quite a bit of time and effort into learning how the City decided to build a new police facility at the Civic Center.
So here's what I said to Mayor Peterson and the City Council this morning. I gave the message a subject line of "Your unfactual message last night":
Mayor Peterson, sitting in the audience at last night’s City Council meeting, I found your statement about the City’s supposed openness about the police facility siting decision to be disturbing for several reasons.
"The City of Salem decided to build a new police facility at the Civic Center without any public hearings or public discussion. City staff and the Mayor made this decision."