The People have spoken on 2A, or have they?

edited March 2015 in Opinion

As I watched the volley that took place in Salida I was interested in how people would use The Citizen, and where advocates of each "approach" would expound on the virtues of their proposals in our fine city's various media outlets. On The Citizen Bill Smith wrote an interesting Op Ed, as did Eileen Rogers in "Clearing The Air on Miss-Information..." Additionally, Jeff Auxier contributed his ideas in his financial analysis piece, as well as his follow up to Eileen's Op-Ed. There were other comments on The Salida Citizen, and more on its Facebook page. I appreciate this use of The Salida Citizen. This kind of dialogue is the raison d'être for The Citizen.

Hopefully, by now you understand that we created The Citizen as a way for people to voice their ideas—without being edited. Most importantly, it is a place for civil discussion, where incorrect information can be corrected immediately. So, do you think The Citizen served its purpose on 2A? Did you use it to understand the issues? Conversely, when you saw information that you felt was wrong, did you present contrary information?

Someone suggested today that Merle at AVP/The Mountain Mail holds a lot of sway when he states his positions, or argues for a rationale for how to think about a given issue. Do you agree? Or was there a paid media blitz that swayed people's votes? In short, what do you think of the outcome considering there was a venue where all information could be presented and distributed for free?

Was your vote impacted by what you read in the media? With only 107 votes separating the outcome, and 2000 people on The Citizen's Facebook page alone, in addition to the site's visitors, we want to better understand how you are and are not using The Citizen.

Please consider, The Citizen is not a newspaper. It is a venue for discussion and ideas. It is your free tool for sharing your ideas with the community. The recent move to allow anybody to post on their own, and auto-posting Citizen articles to Facebook has had a curious outcome (On The Citizen's Facebook page there are some 50 suggestions for what to name the new bridge, and virtually none on the Citizen web site's original posting).


  • Bill, I guess I don't understand how to access the comments that are plentiful on the FB page. I see a few, but the numerous ones spoken about are missing. What am I not understanding to see these comments?

  • Hi, some have more than others, some have none. Some we have pulled down for various reasons. I'm unclear why you cannot access, sorry.

  • It seems to me, if the administrator had complied with the previous electorate decision , we wouldn't have had this special election. Will she comply this time?

  • The Citizen provides a great vehicle for presenting viewpoints and evidence. Don't know if it changes too many minds. The folks that read the online Citizen are almost certainly younger, more tech savvy, etc.

    Some strong supporters of the Carlisle-Farney initiative have said: "I don't read the Citizen, what's the point?" which is very, very unfortunate. The Citizen is a bridge or a window to the other side and a good place for timely discussion.

    Thanks so much to Bill, Trey and others unknown for keeping it going.

  • As I read the paper today, I really wish that the Council members had followed Chuck Rose's suggestion to have a plan to deal with creating a balance budget if the Farney-Carlisle initiative passed. I think that if the Council had come up with a plan to cut $500K from the operating budget and had communicated that plan with the public then the outcome may have been different. But the people have spoken and I guess they (we) deserve whatever happens to us now.

  • Often I still hear citizens saying the two issues were hard to understand and folks were swayed to mistrust the city and voted accordingly. When some of our own council members support a group displaying giant placards that state, "Who do you trust", what is the average voter to think. I'm ashamed of that position, taken in order to win votes.
    Since passing, I've heard on kHen and read in the Mt. Mail Mr. Carlyle state that, "We'll just use reserves rather than cut jobs". Never a good policy.
    Was this the position held prior to the vote? I think not.

  • Two responses:

    1) As if Baker-Schmidt proponents didn't use emotion, publishing photos of little kids;

    2) A lot of people don't trust them, with good reason. If one chooses to be Adlai Stevenson's "sucker for good news," that's certainly one's right.

  • I find it revealing that the folks who erected the large sign,"Who do you trust?' are the very group that endlessly bombarded the paper with letters saying they didn't trust the city council and administration.

  • edited April 2015

    Bill, I sincerely appreciated the public forum you provided. The process was flawed and in the end we only had 3 weeks to compare the 2 initiatives. All citizens, including you, had precious little time to compare the two initiatives. The supporters of the two competing initiatives were hard pressed to bring their ideas forward in the short time we had to debate the issue. The main reason for this was that the City did not put their competing initiative in a final form until late in February with the election looming in March. I tried to keep my comments on the Citizen brief during the discussions about 2A. It was good to listen to others and I did comment a time or two, if I thought the goals of our initiative were being misunderstood. Our opposition, the proponents of the city's initiative, outspent the Citizen's petition by a wide margin. That happened in the last couple of weeks before election day. Perhaps we should have made an effort to match that spending vigorously. We did not purposefully ignore your venue. Frankly, the whole thing was overwhelming and getting all the issues aired properly would have been impossible. I wish we had a little more time for those discussions. It took us from July to October to hammer our initiative language for the Citizen's initiative, that went back and forth to the city 5 times. The city had opportunities to review our language carefully and bat it back and forth. That process took more time than I thought was justified. We got our signatures in a couple of weeks, but the city took the maximum time allowed to review the signatures, their prerogative. Once our signed petition was on the table in November of 2014, the city took from November until late February to finalize their competing language and the election day was a short three weeks later. The process was tedious and at the end we were only left with 3 weeks to compare the two options. We all, both sides, did our best with the short time we had. All in all, I am proud of all of us. The citizens, press, the radio, and the online venues like yours all made an effort to discuss the issue. The League of Women Voters provides an excellent forum discussion where opponents and proponents squared off. The citizens deserve the biggest kudos; they dug in to understand the issue, and the voter turnout was very respectable for a special election. On the whole we had a good process with citizens input, debate, and voting. We have a great system in this country and we should all be proud of that.

    Best regards,
    Billy Carlisle

  • Billy et. al.

    In spite of the efforts of CAG, the Mountain Mail and others over the last three or more years, to raise questions on this general issue, approximately 47% of the registered voters did not vote!! The election was carried by about 27% of the registered voters. It is hardly a land slide when 73% vote against or don't care enough to express an opinion on the proprosal. I do understand that a majority of those who voted were in favor of the Billie/
    Farney idea, but why did so many not care? I am not sure I agree with Billiies overall impression of citizen involvement. Maybe it was just his small group.


  • Jay, I hope you will find this comment and talk in a general way about citizen involvement. This was one of the earliest political things I spent energy thinking about. Once I discovered the world and all its problems, I asked my father why others did not seem concerned about politics or events beyond their small communities. I lived in a small village like Salida, around 5,000, and my father farmed 16 miles away in a remote area, which was sort of like the wild west. Some people lived in log cabins and shacks. Even the successful folks, by worldly standards, had minimal education. Horses and mules were still in use on the farms. There were large herds of cattle and the folks who tended them from horse back carried guns. A lot of those folks would just chuckle and smile sweetly, if a small lad like me asked them about the election, or some regional political issue. My dad called them the salt of the earth people who were the backbone of our agrarian economy. I finally came to the conclusion that politics was not a requirement. I think of it as totally optional. I feel obligated to participate, but that is an obligation I place on myself. I, somewhere along the line, stopped judging the salt of the earth folks who were more focused on church, family, and survival. I no longer think of it as a big social ill, if some folks choose to stand outside the process.
    This is not condemnation speaking; this is just an observation. Many people in Salida have become so discouraged with our leadership that they have given up on being able to influence the direction of their community. Given some of the bad behavior at some of our Council meetings some may think of participating as dangerous. I have some tell me, if you are an insider you can get what you want out of the city, and if you are an outsider you will have difficulty getting fair treatment from our city. Are these just perceptions, or are they reasonable concerns, and fears? Some think they will be persecuted,
    if they speak out. Either way, if folks choose to vote quietly and keep their heads down, I do not grieve about low turn out or judge the folks who stay home. I respect them just like I do the ones who show up.

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