Here's one of the Marion County Voter's Pamphlet arguments that I submitted last week on behalf of Salem Can Do Better, the organization Carole Smith and I formed to oppose the overpriced, poorly-planned $82 million police facility bond measure (24-399) on Salem's November ballot.
Please read every word of it. Hey, it costs $400 for each Voter's Pamphlet argument -- maximum of 325 words -- so each freaking word is costing the Salem Can Do Better PAC more than a dollar. Savor each carefully chosen phrase.
If you want to donate to the PAC, you can do that here. And it'd be great if you gave the Salem Can Do Better Facebook page a "like" if you haven't done so already.
This argument is signed by every member of the Salem Community Vision steering committee. Salem Community Vision has been closely following the police facility planning saga since the fall of 2013, three years.
We've advocated strongly for a wise, cost-effective 75,000 square foot police facility plan that meets the Police Department's needs. yet doesn't put an excessive burden on taxpayers.
Unfortunately, City officials have gone along with the "supersized" $82 million, 148,000 square foot Police Palace plan that some Chicago consultants came up with after a local task force appointed by the Mayor recommended a 75,000 - 106,000 square foot building.
Note: the actual police facility design doesn't have minarets.
But the cost per square foot is double what other Oregon police facilities have been built for,
so "Taj Mahal" is a fitting nickname for the way over-sized/over-priced proposed police facility.
Here's the Voter's Pamphlet argument. If you find it convincing, consider writing a Statesman Journal letter to the editor in your own words that echoes some of the points made below. Submission form is here.
Five good reasons to VOTE NO on the police facility bond
We urge you to vote NO on Measure 24-399. Here’s why:
(1) COST IS TOO HIGH. Not only is the proposed police facility considerably larger than what Salem needs, the $562 development cost per square foot is more than double the square foot cost of facilities built by the State Police and the Eugene Police Department.
(2) SIZE IS TOO LARGE. In 2014 the Mayor and Police Chief said a 75,000 square foot police facility was the right size, offering room for 30 to 40 years of growth. But after Chicago consultants were hired, Salem taxpayers now are being asked to pay double for a supersized 148,000 square foot facility.
(3) EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS BEING IGNORED. The oversized $82 million, 148,000 square foot police facility has squeezed out funds for making critical life-saving seismic upgrades to the Library and City Hall. So now plans have been shelved to save lives at City Hall and the Library when (not if) the Big One Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake hits.
(4) NEW 911 CENTER NOT NECESSARY. The current 911 Center is fine where it is in leased space for at least another ten years. Also, continuing to lease space for the 911 Center saves money over the next 30 years, compared to spending $11 million to build a new Center.
(5) SALEM HAS MANY OTHER NEEDS. Wasting tens of millions of dollars on an over-priced police facility means this money can't be used to meet other needs: affordable housing, safe bike lanes, downtown vitalization, better parks, etc.
Here’s a bonus reason: lack of public involvement in this project from start to finish. After voters reject this bond measure, citizens can work with City officials on a better police facility plan.
For more information, go to www.SalemCanDoBetter.com
and Salem Can Do Better