The Aug. 5 Steamboat Today editorial ("Alliance response leaves more questions") states that the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley "has fallen short in its reply" to the Pilot & Today's investigation of Dr. Steve Aigner's presentation at Iowa State University.
I agree. This situation started with the July 24 article about the Iowa presentation. Steve told the Community Alliance board that there was nothing in his presentation that should concern us. We believed him and assumed the matter would fade away.
Now two weeks later, with the Pilot & Today's prodding, the issue still boils. I now must clarify what Steve actually said and point out how the Pilot & Today has emphasized 70 seconds of comments while ignoring the remaining 60 minutes of content.
I will restate what our president, Jack White, has already said: At no time has the Community Alliance supported an anti-growth position. We always arrive at our positions on development and strategy through consensus at our board and growth committee meetings. That leads me to believe that Steve overestimates the no-growth contingent among our members.
Steve does say "the Community Alliance has always fought growth." This statement is only partially true. The Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley has always fought growth ... which does not meet the intent of the community's stated goals. These goals are codified in the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan and created though extensive public participation. There also have been many growth projects that the Community Alliance did not protest because they met the intent of these plans.
The Pilot & Today claims Steve "received inside information from a Routt County commissioner." This is not true. In one sentence Steve does state that he "received information about what goes on inside the courthouse." All county commissioner business is done in the courthouse, including public hearings. The Community Alliance does not have the resources to attend every meeting in our community. It is gracious of public officials to update us on those poorly reported sessions. Elsewhere, Steve does state that he received "inside information." Nowhere does he say that information is from a county commissioner.
That should address the main concerns raised by the Pilot & Today.
What concerns me is what the Pilot & Today chose to not tell us about this presentation.
They did not tell us about his statement that the Community Alliance's main goal is "to make sure we do not grow so fast that we lose our community character." That comment along with his quote of the Community Alliance's actual mission statement goes a long way to describing the real agenda of our organization, not the one sentence the chose to emphasize.
The Pilot & Today also failed to mention Steve's discussion of Vision 2030, specifically that 36 percent of respondents said "preserving the character of community" was a top concern. These types of responses are the foundation of the Community Alliance's efforts.
Finally, the Pilot & Today felt it was unimportant that Steve mentioned his efforts "to get people to think more civilly about dialogue."
Anyone that has watched the full 62-minute presentation would agree that there was marginal public benefit to the newspaper's sensationalism. But somehow this story merited placement on the cover of the Friday issue, the most-read issue of the week. Could it be that the Pilot & Today is not the balanced public institution it claims to be?
Vice president, Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley