In reference to Mr. [Jim] Barnes editorial, I believe it is not the position of a city councilman to try to influence the public to vote in a certain way based on his own beliefs.
Everyone is entitled to vote for whomever they feel will do the best job for the elected office.
The terminology of the jail being built downtown is misleading and false.
It is being built blocks away from the downtown. The geography is wrong.
I urge every registered voter to keep to your own values and don’t allow yourself to be wrongly persuaded from someone else’s vendettas.
Letter requires response
Last week’s letter to the editor regarding new Ogle County Judicial Center Annex (jail) by Jim Barnes in the Ogle County Newspapers really requires a response.
First, Jim and I have taken positions on many projects – sometimes in mutual support - sometimes diametrically opposed.
Importantly, after the final outcome we have always remained friends.
In all of these cases there is never a question that Jim’s position is heartfelt and sincere, but regarding his recent letter the facts take us in a totally different direction.
Following the points in the letter in order:
• Two business leaders voiced opposition. The vocal opposition was relatively short-lived. Almost certainly subdued when the prohibitively high cost of their preferred alternatives became apparent.
• Three hundred-thirty-six citizens signed a petition voicing opposition. We all know if you lay a petition on a countertop in a high traffic area it will garner a large number of signatures – some from the referenced area – some from parts unknown.
Also, it was widely noted that many of those signatures were obtained by persuasion. In any event, counting them all as Oregon’s population of 3,700 divided by 336 equals 9 percent.
That really shouldn’t guide the city in a process that also affects 52,000 citizens of the county.
At the end of the whole process there were only four vocal opponents to the project.
Since two of them were city council members the opposition was long and very costly to the project.
There was mention made of the residences “removed from the tax rolls.”
As long as there are other residences, or buildable lots, on the local market this is just a relocation of community assets.
It is important for a city to maintain a business/institutional core surrounded by its residential neighborhoods.
Not addressed was the additional annual operating cost of $1.2 million to transport detainees for a remote/rural location. Not a price to be ignored. That cost is saved by the final design.
Also, deputy safety needs to be a concern. Enclosed passageways from cell to courtroom are the only safe way to handle high-profile detainees.
In this day of vicious drug gangs and military grade weapons available on the street of any large city – deputies transporting members of this genre place their lives at risk.
When it comes time to exercise your right to vote – gauge your candidates on their overall performance.
Certainly, don’t condemn them for their strength to make a wise, well-researched vote that will move Oregon forward – not leave it mired in the past.