How do you argue with the "golden man" statue on top of the Capitol building? Through a blog post! I'm sure the Oregon Pioneer reads Salem Political Snark, since he's sitting right on top of a whole lot of fodder for political snarkiness.
Of course, I guess it's possible that the regular Musings of the Oregon Pioneer column in the Salem Business Journal isn't written by the statue.
Last November 8, the voters turned down a new $82 million police station at the site of the former O'Brien/DeLon auto dealership on Division Street between Liberty Street and Commercial NE, abutting Mill Creek on the north. There was no organized opposition to the bond levy.
Hey, Mr. Oregon Pioneer, there sure was organized opposition!
- Carole Smith and I organized a Political Action Committee, Salem Can Do Better, that opposed Measure 24-399.
- I designed a nicely-organized web page for Salem Can Do Better that's been viewed over 10,000 times.
- We have a Salem Can Do Better Facebook page.
- The Salem Can Do Better PAC paid $1,600 for four Voter's Pamphlet arguments against Measure 24-399.
- I debated the merits of the $82 million police facility at a Salem City Club debate.
- Pro and con arguments about Measure 24-399 (I wrote the "con") were featured side by side on the Statesman Journal editorial page.
I made a post-election video about what Salem Can Do Better did, because Mayor-elect Chuck Bennett also has expressed doubts that voters were exposed to organized information about the flaws of Measure 24-399.
But aside from the "no organized opposition" comment by the Salem Business Journal columnist, I found their piece interesting. Here's an excerpt.
(Note: don't confuse the dumb-idea Plan B mentioned below with the Salem Can Do Better and Salem Community Vision Plan B -- which is for a $62 million bond measure, $20 million less than Measure 24-399, which includes funds for a perfectly adequate 75,000 square foot police facility AND making City Hall/Library earthquake-safe.)
There are several conversations I wish to report on.
The first is that two Salem City Counselors [sic], while making the political rounds speaking in support of the new police station bond issue levy, said there was "No Plan B" if the bond issue failed. Well that was not quite right, as there is a "Plan B."
It seems the City Council, which is also the governing body for the Downtown Urban Renewal Agency, has been talking to itself. The Downtown Urban Renewal Agency is now considering the purchase of the former auto dealership property for the City of Salem.
Is that legal? I really don't know, but I suspect it is. So "Plan B" is now being considered. The City Council, if "Plan B" continues in its present form, will hold another election in May 2017. The price tag is expected to be $82 million again. One might expect organized opposition for the next round, so stay tuned.
Yes, indeed, there would be organized opposition again to a police facility bond measure if City officials were foolish enough to put the same $82 million proposal that voters just rejected back on the ballot.
Salem Can Do Better would make the same strong arguments to vote NO that we did before. And this time we'd have a powerful additional argument:
Salem citizens just told City officials that they wouldn't pay for an over-priced, over-sized $82 million/148,000 square foot police facility that is way more expensive than this town needs, or can afford. Yet here they are, asking you to say "yes" to something that you just clearly said "no" to. Since these City officials aren't willing to listen to you, speak even louder in this election with a more emphatic NO!