Letter to the Editor: Make your opinion count — vote no on Proposition 1


Dear Editor:

Civic Center supporter’s arrogance is not limited to council members recommending non-believers leave town.  They have also chosen two straight election dates for the likelihood that opponents won’t vote.  Devaluing voter’s opinions doesn’t bother them.  It’s their goal.

Their dismissive attitude even extends to the definition of a majority. There have been two ballot measures.  In November, 2010 “NO” won with 3,477 to 3,083 for “YES” or 53 percent of a total 6,560 cast.  Yes, that’s a majority.

Being the city, “YES” gets to select the ballot date. They chose August, 2012 for the second try expecting much lower turnout, which they got. “YES” received 2,227 to 1,692 for “NO”, 57 percent of 3,919 votes. They need 60 percent to win.

Their overview of that result fails to mention the obvious math. 2,641 of the 6,560 voters from 2010 didn’t participate. Even characterized as “overwhelming support” and a “clear majority”, victories just aren’t quite as “resounding” when the intention is to exclude 2,641 of 6,560 voters.

This April was chosen for the third try expecting an even lower turnout. Gentlemanly debate it isn’t. All available levers of their power are being employed, including threats and boatloads of misinformation.  The intent is to intimidate and demoralize the 1,785 of you “missing” NO votes from 2010. That lack of consideration, in fact their entire strategy, is a telling measure of how little they respect differing opinions.

If you are against this measure and want your opinion to count, the most important thing to remember is to VOTE. NO ON PROPOSITION 1.

Jack S. Allen


  1. Your letter might have a shred of believability if the City had a lack of information out there about the election. Last time I checked, two City newsletters had the election on the front page and the most recent issue featured the election throughout. Oh, and I received a large postcard mailing from the City. I believe you did too. And I’m on an email list that tells me what’s going on in the city including the 30-40 Civic Center 101 presentations the City has held and offered to do for any group or even in your home. Then there’s the City’s Facebook page in case you missed it. The City Council had a public hearing too, but I didn’t see you there. I was at a recent “Coffee with the City” event when some citizens asked about Prop 1, but I didn’t meet you there either.

    I volunteer for the YES Committee and we all know that if the measure receives 60% of the vote in favor, but it fails to get the minimum turnout of 3,664 votes, it fails. So that’s the biggest hole in your argument. If you attended the City Council’s special meeting last September when the dates were discussed, you would have heard the reasons why April was chosen. But you and others who are throwing out “conspiracy theories” and accusing City officials of “half truths” weren’t there. I don’t recall seeing you at any of the Town Hall meetings on the Civic Center back when the Civic Facilities Advisory Task Force met 17 times in 2008-2009.
    If you have differing opinions, fine, but quit making accusations that are unfounded, and quite frankly, ridiculous. Please vote in this election. We need a healthy turnout in order to verify what will be a loud and clear 60-plus-percent majority.

  2. Mr. Allen almost acknowledged that the August election was a majority by the YES voters. At least he did say the YES voters achieved 57% of the vote.

    Onto his main point, that the YES voters want a low turnout election. If Proposition 1 needs a 60% vote to win, what sense does it make to want a low turnout? The August election missed passing by only 124 votes!!! So we want fewer people to vote???

    I will also mention that I am tired of the “No New Taxes” folks accusing the proponents of Prop 1 of using threats and misinformation. I have come across several instances of people telling me that they are voting no because they don’t want Roger’s Market to close (which is false) and businesses are being berated and will be boycotted for supporting Prop 1 (which is true).

    People, get informed of the issues and vote.

  3. Unfortunately this conspiracy theory doesn’t surprise me at all, especially coming from Mr. Allen who’s been occusing the City of “collusion” (his words, not mine) and worse elsewhere.

  4. The whole issue is not that we need a City Hall it is how much do we need to fork out for one. I had one neighbor who referred to Prop 1 as the city wanting to build the Taj Mahal rather than just a nice classy City Hall at a much lower cost. True I am not a contractor so would not know the cost of building, however I have seen the plans and they are not what I see as necessary. It was voted down once, now twice. Maybe they are looking at 3rd time is a charm.
    My vote is ‘no’ until the city gets it right. Also I resent the signs that say Seniors vote yes – that is simply not true. Some seniors may vote yes but this one does not.

    • Hi Shirley – What you may be referring to as “plans” were just some conceptual drawings of what the project could look like. The scope of the project (WHAT it includes) has been determined in order to produce a cost estimate but the actual design (engineering/architect/etc.) of the project will begin only once funding is in place. When Proposition 1 passes, the design of the project will begin and will include plenty of opportunities for public input. We are all going to be involved in the process. You can find more information here as well as read some corrections to other misinformation you may have heard https://yesformlt.com/faq/.

  5. While on your point, Mr. DeKoekkoek, you could point out that the funding is only conceptual as well, since we don’t know how many of those yes-voting seniors will then elect not to actually pay for what they voted for, leaving a shortfall for the rest of the City taxpayers to deal with. Whatever do we do when our $25M estimate comes in at $29M and we find out that our supporting revenues come in a few million dollars short as well, sir?

    The City has left debt coverage incompletely accounted for and has under-projected the maintenance costs of the project once completed. How convenient.

    We deserve the government we elect. Good and hard, we deserve it.

    Mr. Richards, we’d appreciate fewer expressions of thanks and more effort explaining whether the City has accounted sufficiently for seniors who won’t support the cost of the project and why the City hasn’t fully accounted for the costs of the proposed project once it’s complete.

    • Mr. Smith, first of all you can call me Dustin. I really don’t think these formalities are necessary but I’ll continue to use them as it appears that’s what many prefer. While it may persuade some that it’s a good idea to do nothing, saying that you think a project will go over budget and, therefore, should not be constructed or funded is just silly. How would a City or any other organization get anything done using this reasoning? Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, in the budget has been estimated very conservatively by a consultant with professional estimators.

      • It would not be silly to suggest that a project be constructed in phases, so that cost limitations don’t affect the most necessary parts of the project, but only delay less-needed subsequent phases.

        For instance, make the Civic Center to be a separately designated phase, to be constructed, or not, depending upon finances. I wonder how many yes-voting Seniors would be less likely to vote yes if their cherished Senior Center carrot were not a guarantee?

        It might also be useful to update interest costs according to current reality. The projection is for a 30-year bond issue at a 4% rate. Today, 20-year municipal money is at 3.96%. https://www.munibondadvisor.com/market.htm How realistic does 4% sound? You might argue that a municipality with a grade of AA would get a lower rate, but one of the reasons for that low rate is that MLT has heretofore avoided idiocy such as borrowing $25M for a project well beyond its current needs.

        How does everybody feel about a credit downgrade for the City after it pulls out a win on this, the third time around? Everybody OK with paying more for everything in the future because of something we claim we have to have now?

  6. I’m not sure exactly what conspiracy theory Mr. Allen is being accused of accepting. From the conduct of the council during and after the August, 2012 loss, it isn’t a theory at all. Using every lever of power sounds just about right.

    One things true. There is certainly a ton of information being spread through the community using city funds and you don’t need to attend city meetings to be exposed to it. It is obvious to anyone who watches their process and actually digs into the city’s numbers that, since late 2007, this entire affair has been a systematic campaign of distortions.

    The recent city flyer which openly contradicts earlier city statements about the cost to an average city household is just one of many. It is similarly a numerical farce to claim that a 50-year rental stream including operating costs on the rented space is at all comparable to a 30 year stream of mortgage payments on a building which somehow doesn’t have any operating costs at all. Jack Allen didn’t build that faulty model and doesn’t need to attend any meetings to figure out how faulty it is. Theory, indeed.

    Proudly participating in the echo chamber sessions which pass as unbiased city meetings would be a waste of time for anyone who does not come to those meetings already believing that YES is the correct answer. Mr. Allen and many others broke their picks at city hall for years until it became clear that participation had been re-defined to mean go along or shut up.


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