Mayoral candidates

I sent this to the mountain mail five days ago, but they had not yet published it.

Thank you! The following form has been submitted: email Paul Goetz

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We have two candidates for Mayor this fall. They have a lot in common. They are long term Salida residents, they care about this community, and they have donated hours of time and energy to our little town in different ways. They are both good men, but they are not both good leaders.

P.T. Wood has been on the Salida Planning Commission for years, and has been the Chair for many of those years. I have appeared before Planning Commission as an applicant, and I have observed many meetings when I was not involved in the proceedings. Mr. Wood has been polite to both the applicants and the other Planning Commission members. He has allowed discussion and kept the discussion focused on the matter at hand. The current Planning Commission has a reputation for being fair and following the code as it is written. It is a well run machine.

Jim LiVecchi has been the mayor for almost two years. After two years in office, I have no idea what his vision is for our future. He and some members of the current council seem to be very reactive, and not visionary. They spend a lot of time, energy, and money consumed with things that happened in the past, but they don’t seem to have a plan for the future. The staff of the City has experienced a lot of turnover since the Mayor took office. We have lost two City Administrators, two Finance Directors, a Community Development Director, a Deputy City Clerk and our Public Works Director retired early. Six of our twelve department heads have left our city government in under two years, and we currently have no Deputy City Clerk or Finance Director. This high level of turnover has gutted our institutional knowledge. It appears that the Mayor has put an inordinate amount of trust in the City Attorney instead of relying on the expertise of City employees, This reliance on an outside employee has resulted in exorbitant legal fees. In addition, the Mayor has not consulted the members of Council to approve many of the Attorney’s tasks.

Mr. LiVecchi has shut down fellow Council members when he did not agree with what they had to say. If you have not seen this video, please take 3 minutes to watch this except from the October 3 City Council meeting:

The Mayor repeatedly interrupts Council Member Rogers, eventually making it impossible for her to speak. What is he trying to hide?

When you are ready to cast your ballot for Mayor, please think carefully. You have two nice men to choose between. P.T. Wood has a proven record of running the Planning Commission, listening, and following and enforcing the City rules and regulations. Jim LiVecchi has overseen a very tumultuous and contentious period in our local politics. I do believe that both candidates are good people with good intentions. However, what Salida needs is good leadership.Please join me in voting for a good leader, P.T. Wood.

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  • Paige, During my time on council from 2005-2013 we had eight different administrators both temporary and semi- permanent which included Dara as both a temp and choice number three to become the administrator. The city worked fine always because the department heads were always intensely involved and therefore ran the show. The current mayor has a major flaw in driving out department heads, in areas where he obviously has no knowledge. Maybe he should not elected because of his super adversarial attitude except in his recent advertisements.

  • I have been asked to post the testimony that I gave at the October 17 City Council meeting, regarding the Mayor's treatment of Council member Rogers on 10/3 and the failure of the Mountain Mail to provide any meaningful news coverage. Here is my testimony in full:

    Good evening Mr. Mayor and Council members,

    My name is Anne Marie Holen and I am a downtown Salida resident, [address]. I am speaking here tonight to express a concern about the state of our democracy here in Salida.

    With elections coming up, I have been trying to be a good citizen and attend local candidate forums and I also decided to attend an entire City Council meeting and an entire Planning Commission meeting. So I was here on October 3, sitting in the back with my knitting. The meeting was pretty tame – until the end, when it was Council member Rogers’ turn to speak and she began to speak, which led to an angry outburst from the mayor and then finally he used the gavel to prevent her from continuing.

    I was stunned. I don’t know Eileen Rogers, but she is one of my elected representatives from Ward 2 and I was very interested in what she had to say.

    I thought surely there would be a news story in the Mountain Mail about the incident and the broader topic raised by Council member Rogers. There has been no news coverage.

    The Mountain Mail published an opinion piece by Council member Rogers, but an opinion piece is not a news story, and so the public is left wondering: Did the mayor did really spend taxpayer money to use the city attorney to try to dig up damaging information on two Council members whom he perceives as political enemies?

    If those allegations are true, it’s deserving of a news story. If they are not true, that’s deserving of a news story. If the truth is more complicated and nuanced, that also is deserving of a news story.

    But the mayor’s behavior and the lack of follow-up by the Mountain Mail leave us in the dark.

    A free and independent and ethical news media is one of the pillars of our democracy, part of the checks and balances that help prevent abuse of power. Why the silence? Why was Eileen Rogers silenced and why has the Mountain Mail been silent?

    Yesterday I called former Mountain Mail reporter Sam Liebl – who now lives in Texas – and asked for his thoughts. He was very candid. He also wanted to be clear that he is not on anyone’s “side.” But from what he learned as a reporter – which is more than what the average citizen in Salida knows – there is reason to believe that Council member Rogers’ allegations are founded on fact and that the Mountain Mail deliberately suppressed the story. This is not a partisan issue. What appears to have happened is fundamentally unethical and a disservice to the community. We the people deserve better.

    Thank you for allowing me the time to speak on this issue.

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