Home rule frustrations by few

The citizens are being offered an opportunity to vote on a charter created by people of our choosing, based on issues and challenges that have yet to be determined. Positive input, questions and open minds are appreciated, especially when so many people involved in these decisions are primarily volunteers making decisions on issues for which they have little to gain.

As expected, people with a variety of political leanings seem to be enjoying the process — of considering — a home-rule system. It’s a wildly open-ended process, necessitating a variety of inputs, thoughts and ideas. Yet, as with every community around the world, there are unhappy people. Like a child being given a box of 64 crayons, their will always be people saying, “Why are you giving me a blue crayon?”

When our country was founded there was likely always a table of people in the corner of the tavern mistrustful and fearful of change. So, to those who see only conspiracy, I say please pull up a chair, shake hands and put on a smile. This is democracy. It isn’t always perfect and it’s rarely pretty, but this is as close as many of us will come to the purest aspect of what makes America great. I’m at a loss for words for those who are against considering home rule, as the prospect alone represents the essence of what America is all about. So I leave you with this.

Please go to THIS THREAD to comment, or for a serious discussion about HOME RULE

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

12 Responses to “Home rule frustrations by few”

  1. john holmes

    Home rule frustrations and fears stem exactly from distrust of our current city government. The list of issues is long. Exorbitant water bills that are flat rated, not based on use, fall unfairly on those on fixed incomes and working families. They can cut their use but they cannot escape the flat fee. The money was used to buy Vandeveer ranch and its water rights. The ranch has been given to a non-transparent not-for-profit which is selling the land at cut rate prices. I presume the intention was for the citizens to buy the ranch so the city and not-for-profit could sell the land at bargain basement prices. No transparency means no trust. Are the not-for-profits meetings public. Did Pinto Barn buy land for $20,000 per acre that developers would have paid $40,000 per acre for? The trust is going steadily down hill and I am not the only one that feels this way.

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  2. Bill Smith

    Bill: Thanks for providing the forum.

    John: Thanks for identifying the issue that are of concern to you. My name is Bill Smith and I submitted a petition to be on the committee that writes the Charter. I hear you saying:
    - you don't like the current water rate structure
    - Vandeveer and the NRC are not transparent enough and perhaps not being managed to best protect the Citizen's who paid for it in the first place.

    I want you to know that I share some of your concerns. I am of the opinion that the Charter can address these issues, and if I am on the Charter committee I will use my best efforts to see that they are addressed. Without the Charter there is nothing to stop these things from happening again. With the Charter they might be addressed, it depends on what the final Charter looks like. As P.T. Wood said in another spot on the Citizen, I hope the Charter committee gets a lot of input just like you gave yours. And I hope they address that input seriously. No one is going to get everything they want, and the Charter is not always the best way to address all of the issues. But it is different from what we have.

    To everyone else: I would love to hear about the issues that are of concern to you. Do it right here. Let's get the conversation started. If you have a proposed solution that would be great as well. Something you want to make sure is not changed - put it out there. The sooner we start talking about it the more information we will have when it comes time to vote.

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  3. cory

    I become frustrated when the pros and cons of an issue play second-fiddle to the attacks on those for or against an issue. This type of post does little to add to the integrity of a discussion and only increases the suspicions of folks like John. It seems home-rule is only as good as the charter that is written. Thus, we are being asked to trade a known entity (statuatory rule) for an unknown entity (home rule...which could be far better or far worse). I chose to post here because my thoughts are not for or against home rule. Instead, they are a comment on process. Statements correlating one side to "a child being given a box of 64 crayons” only help to muddy the waters.

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  4. Merrell Bergin

    As someone who has also had their petition to serve on the Commission accepted, I too look forward to moving the discussion foward. My mind is open and I also believe that the Citizen is a great way to hear what's on the minds of everyone. Only in that way can those who make the Top 11 vote be prepared to engage in the issues that matter to Salida.

    To be satsified with the status quo and never challenge yourself to look for a better way paves the road to certain mediocrity. It rewards doom and gloom instead of creativity and discourages people with new ideas from bringing value to what we already treasure.

    For years Detroit gave us what they wanted to sell and not want customers wanted to buy. You are the customer here and your opinion counts whether we agree or not. Please just agree to come to the table, speak calmly to your elected representative and know that they will consider it along with everyone else's view.

    I look forward to engaging with anyone who has an opinion on what Salida should look like and how YOU want to be governed. Even though the election is out to January 15th, now is the time to start framing the issues.

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  5. Lisa Malde

    Cory, I completely understand that we would be trading in a known for an unknown, but the thing about the Home Rule process is the voters have to approve the Charter once it is written. If the citizens do not approve the Charter then the Commission would need to revise it and resubmit it for another vote. If it does not pass the second time then we remain a statutory city. I guess my thought is, why not give the process a try and see where it goes? I don't think anyone who submitted a petition for the Charter Commission (including myself) has any plans on making this a closed door process. We need the input from residents in order to create a Charter that best represents our community.

    This is a great start to the conversation and I hope it continues throughout the process.

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  6. Jane Smith

    Bill, this post is as condescending to anyone who might DARE to be against "home rule" as your ridiculous and condescending post about Kathryn Wadsworth's election loss. Apparently you like open minds,but only as long as they agree with you. There are a lot of Salidans who don't want the "blue crayon" of home rule, and they do not deserve to be discounted in this manner.

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    • Citizen Team

      Ms. Smith, my apologies if my post implied that I was a proponent of Home Rule. I am still learning about it.

      My intent was to illustrate that the process is a quintessential example of democracy in action—I am intrigued by the potential cost savings however.

      As far as seeking opinions that only agree with my own: If that were the case I would not have helped create a citizen journalism site that allows everyone access. Ironically, I am only interested in views that differ from my own. -Bill

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  7. Scott Knauer

    Eight out of eight people I asked what 'home rule' meant to them as it pertains to Salida or anywhere else gave me eight entirely different answers. Five of them essentially had no idea what it was. If you want a consensus on how people feel about home rule, or how it compares to the present (statutory law) then it may be helpful to define what it means and how it might effect our city once implemented. The more succinct the better.

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  8. Merrell Bergin

    Scott, please see the posting from Councilman Steve Stewart dated November 2nd. A link to it is embedded in this article prior to the responses - just above the video link. That posting is very clear and to the point and answers many of the questions already surfacing.

    In addition, the League of Women Voters (LWV) plans a Candidate Forum for December 12th, 7pm at Salida Council Chambers. A discussion of advantages and disadvantages of Home Rule will be presented by a proponent and an opponent. Each candidate for the Home Rule Charter Commission will have 4 minutes to speak and address questions and a follow on Q&A with the audience is also scheduled. The session will be recorded for Channel 10 TV with copies available at the Library.

    By reading the November 2nd posting, looking at the City of Salida website for materials and attending the Candidate Forum, voters have a wealth of information to help frame their input. Making an informed choice on the 2 ballot questions slated for Jan. 15th is the first step.

    Councilman Stewart’s posting is at http://salidacitizen.com/2012/11/councilman-stewart-explains-home-rule/#comments

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  9. Jay Moore

    john holmes,

    The reason for the flatter rates is that there are a substantial number of home owners who are not here very often, but still need to have/deserve service. The idea of the flat rate was to not allow these people to escape paying their "fair share". In my immediate neighborhod this percent is about 25 which is to say one quarter don't live here. This was a "least worst" decision by council, as any increase in volume rates lead to the not unreasonable decision by citizens to stop watering and brown up the town.

    The money is/was not being used to buy the Vandeveer. It will be used to either replace the 50+ year old bed in the water filtration plant, or the 105 year old main line on H street. This particular line is ductile line and has lead solder joints. I assume safe water is fine with you.

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  10. Jay Moore

    John Holmes,

    To continue, the higher water rates were/are to pay for the necessary maintaining of the current water structure. This is indirectly related by the city council of 2004 decision to buy the Vandeveer. Unfortunately, under advice from the then city lawyer, who has since been fired, by this council, the financing was a violation of TABOR. To avoid further TABOR violations,the city paid off the obligations using reserves, for both the land city general fund) and the water (water enterprise fund). The water is now worth three times what was paid.

    No one, in the city administration or on the current council were involved in any way at that time. Remember term limits!! Which is to say no one was either in the city administration or who is on council was there at that time. I mean for you to understand that there was not a transfer from one council to another. The idea of doing some sort of "secret" idea is from my understanding is absurd. That the citizens have further no skin in the game is real. That they have risk is real, because if the venture fails, Collegiate Peaks gets the remaining property.

    Jay, speaking for himself and no one else.

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  11. Melodee Hallett

    If people would like to view the first League of Women voters DVD on Home Rule, it is available at the library. That might give a start to some information that was made available when the subject was first brought to the people for discussion. This one was done in 07 or 08.

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