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July 28, 2019

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Yes, you need to talk about that police facility. It was you and others, in a David vs. Goliath battle, that defeated the bloated $82 million bond measure in 2016. The project was scaled down and resubmitted and voters approved a $61.8 million bond measure in 2017. But the joke's on you, and Salem voters, because now the cost of the project has risen to $78 million, and the Council has had no problem with adding more money to cover it (even though it means less real Urban Renewal — not a police station that is still oversized). Pretty soon it may be as if the voters never said "no" to $82 million — or more. This is as good an example of any of how the City staff is able to snooker us time and again because no one pays much attention except you and the Breakfast on Bikes blogger!

I tried working with both Salem Public Works and Steve Powers on helping implement a change to a draconian water shut-off policy, especially as it applied to seniors. My mom, age 89, who hadn’t missed a payment in 35 years became desperately ill last fall, missed a payment and had her water unceremoniously shut off...even though the follow up bill clearly stated she had an additional 15 days to become current. Although both administrators at Public Works and Powers professed to be concerned and admitted policies needed to be changed...and although I was promised follow-ups to a package of suggestions I made for customer service improvements, nothing ever happened outside of one staff training...and the director of public works, bad mouthing my poor mother at a community gathering (held, ironically, at Broadway Coffee). My mom passed away in March and, frankly, I gave up on the advocacy. It became pointless...all I got from Powers was apologies and excuses.

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