Steamboat Springs Rejected Letters to the Editor can be very motivating. The three participating members of Concerned Citizens have each had one. My letter took issue with Herold Stout's letter about the Iron Horse Inn, another letter refuted the claims of a council candidate, and the third drew distinctions between candidates on west area annexation.
Print those three letters, and the Concerned Citizens group would not exist.
I understand it's impossible to fairly balance opposing views in this forum, but the result is that important questions, ideas and concerns from citizens are being lost. And if the question does get asked, condensed political rhetoric often leaves the central question unanswered. There is a large gap.
Ours is not the best solution, but I have a suggestion.
The current candidate forums are a great start, but only manage a narrow array of questions and limited public discussion. I suggest the Pilot & Today sponsor an Internet forum that presents a question a week to the candidates, beginning the day candidates are recognized in August. Citizens would be allowed brief follow-up questions so the issue is fleshed out. Such a conversation could take all of us beyond some of our current differences.
Obviously, Concerned Citizens' ads are not a forum. Obviously, we support the three city council incumbents. And it appears our incumbents have 5 opponents. Concerned Citizens will continue our effort with advertisement of facts and rebuttals that support our incumbents, and in some cases support the whole City Council.
I acknowledged that I stand with Concerned Citizens because it stands to reason that my neighbors want a neighbor's accountability for ads appearing in their newspaper. I get to start sooner than I thought: My Tuesday ad stated, "if Cari Hermacinski ever voted against a development project, we couldn't find it." (My source is the Planning Commission archives, dating back through 2005, on the city's Web site.)
Later, scrolling the archives, I did find one such vote occurring last March. When I told her I would be making this correction, she asked I also note a maternity leave and a family crisis that correspond with her low attendance records stated in that same ad.
I noticed a few "ethical halos" this week in the ads. This trend is better, because I agree the past weeks had set a new low. For our part, I feel our ads have only gone where opponents took us. I remain disappointed with campaigns that suggest we are voting about a candidate's inferior or superior ethical character. All our candidates are intelligent and obviously care about this valley.
Our vote should be about where they want to take us.
Concerned Citizens for the Future of Steamboat Springs