Community needs facts, not angry rhetoric

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mike McBride’s editorial, “Initiative would limit taxes” (Clarion, June 8) and his insert in the next day’s Clarion on behalf of Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers make for discerning reading. While “putting the public into the process” in pursuit of “more accountable borough government” is an admirable and desirable goal, there are constructive and destructive ways to pursue that objective.

Is it possible for McBride and ACT to conduct their campaign for more accountable borough government in an atmosphere of congeniality, neighborliness and cooperation? Does our community really need “fight city hall and WIN” bombast? Borough assembly members are our neighbors, friends and relatives. How have they become our adversaries? And if we’re dealing with “elected officials (who) have a long history of alienating the public,” who are they?

Unless one is specific, such talk is simply smear-them-all-with-the-same-brush demagoguery. If McBride and ACT have problems with “elected officials who choose to continue ignoring the peoples,” whom exactly are they accusing? Indiscriminate vilification is no substitute for substantive political dialog.

Second, McBride’s accusation that the borough’s purchase of Heritage Place was a “questionable scheme” that “bent the rules” is inexcusably irresponsible and a fabrication. There was nothing “questionable” about the sale of Heritage Place — everything was done out in the open in front of God and the voters. There was no “scheme” about the transaction. Nor were any rules “bent” as McBride irresponsibly accuses. The rules were scrupulously adhered to, and the borough got an amazing deal as a result. If we’re going to accuse people of scheming and bending rules, let’s please be specific. Again, indiscriminate defamation is no substitute for substantive dialog.

Third, scare tactics are no substitute for facts. Who is talking about “cancellation of exemptions such as for Seniors or Disabled Veterans”? There has been some discussion about lowering the senior property tax exemptions to state levels, but “cancellation”? Please, be more factual — who is talking about canceling exemptions for Seniors and Disabled Vets?

We all know elected officials need watching, and McBride and ACT should be commended for their efforts to bring voters into a better understanding of and participation in government. However, they must offer the voters more than indiscriminate accusations and empty alarmism. The community doesn’t need angry rhetoric; the community deserves facts and substance.

John Nelson


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