Time for some summer fun: I'm challenging Salem Mayor-elect Chuck Bennett (currently a city councilor) to "put up or shut up."
Namely, either put up demonstrable evidence that I and other members of Salem Community Vision have been distorting facts about the $82 million City of Salem police facility proposal that will be voted on via a bond measure this November, or shut up about our supposed false statements.
Today Bennett forced this challenge when he left this comment on a Salem Community Vision Facebook post about Bennett's own statements about the police facility:
Unfortunately for the truth of all this, not one of the people below has ever talked with me about the police facility. But then, the truth plays so little part in any of the discussions about the real need Salem has to provide adequate, safe space for Salem's police officers now and into the future. I'm looking forward to a real debate over this issue over the next couple of months. Our police officers and our community deserves better than ad hominem potshots, false statistics and specious arguments.
Damn, man, those are fighting words, Mayor-elect Bennett. So let's get it on.
Show us what you've got in your ad hominem potshots, false statistics and specious arguments Proof Basket. I'm an open-minded, fact-loving, science-admiring guy. I'm totally open to being convinced by you that I and other members of Salem Community Vision are guilty of making seriously misleading or outright false statements.
But you can't just say stuff, Mayor-elect Bennett. You've got to walk the walk in addition to talking the talk. Let's see evidence of those ad hominem potshots, false statistics and specious arguments.
I wrote the 2016 Salem Community Vision position paper on the police facility, "Salem's New Police Facility: The Best Way to Achieve It." This contains key facts and arguments about why the current $82 million plan being pushed by Bennett and other members of the City Council is deeply flawed.
Last February the report was sent to City officials, including Bennett. No one has challenged the accuracy of facts or arguments in the report. So again, Mayor-elect Bennett, put up or shut up. Even though you've had five months to bring up any problems with the report, I still want to know if us Salem Community Vision folks got something wrong.
I've also put up a Salem Can Do Better web page that urges people to vote "NO" on the $82 million police facility bond, and gives five reasons why (plus a bonus reason). Mayor-elect Bennett, please look over this web page also and let me know if there are any false statements in it.
Since Mayor-elect Chuck Bennett is a lobbyist, I'm sure he knows the difference between (1) facts, and (2) opinions based on facts.
My challenge to Bennett doesn't really involve opinions. It involves facts. Naturally people are going to have different opinions about the wisdom of building a 148,000 square foot, $82 million police facility. That's a big building that costs a lot of money.
Rather, I'm bothered by Chuck Bennett's assertion that opponents of the $82 million police facility plan are purposely screwing around with the facts. "False statistics" are 1/3 of Bennett's assertion that people like me are engaging in ad hominem potshots, false statistics and specious arguments.
But I'm also baffled by Mayor-elect Bennett's ad hominem potshots and specious arguments charges. So let's see if Bennett can come up with specific examples of those also.
The countdown starts: today is Day 1 of Chuck Bennett's Put Up or Shut Up challenge.
I'll report on how he responds, when I get a response. Like I said, if Bennett is right, I'll be pleased to learn what I and other critics of the City's $82 million police facility plan have gotten wrong.
(Since I've been married for 44 years, if I hadn't learned long ago how to be pleased with being proven wrong, I'd be an unhappy husband.)