LETTER TO THE EDITOR: More information needed on Whidbey projects
August 2, 2008 · Updated 9:48 AM
To the editor:
The comments on your editorial page and in the letters you receive indicate that many of us are thinking about the various capital development proposals which are up for discussion, at least two of which will be on our ballots in November: a proposal to develop the Langley Marina, and the proposal to form a public utility district to manage our electricity needs.
As other readers have suggested, good specific information is critical to making reasonable decisions. And I, for one, don’t have enough information.
I know there are times when
I do want my community to come together to say yes to public needs and/or public space because
I believe serving public needs and providing public space makes community and serves community.
I know there are circumstances when the open-mindedness and far-sightedness of others helps convince me to say yes, I will pay more in taxes in order to do my share to provide for the public good. Certainly there are times when I will say yes to the call for a tithe (using this word loosely).
A thriving community is a tithing community. It may well include a swimming pool; I don’t know.
I believe, in general, a thriving community always includes parks (waterfront and other). Perhaps even, for certain reasons, we might choose to be in control of our own public utility.
But I can’t judge unless I understand these proposals better and the broadest ramifications of each.
A public marina may appear at first glance to serve only a narrow swath of our community’s residents, but on the other hand there is no activity more synonymous with our island culture than public waterfront and water access.
At first, I only imagined those boaters able to afford gas using the marina, but with more effort
I now also imagine canoe classes for kids, sailing classes of a day camp or a small fishing pier for all of us.
Going further with my imagination, I can see myself taking an afternoon picnic at this waterside public space. In other words I can identify with a future marina if it allows a lot more of us to use the waterfront. And certainly I would prefer to see some improvements rather than watch the present facilities fall into further disrepair and dangerous decrepitude for lack of funds for maintenance and improvements.
I might be in fantasy-land, but this is exactly the point: My imagination must be fed by accurate and specific information before
I can make a reasoned decision.
I want to make a judgment after
I hear the pros and cons. Nixing a proposal just because it adds to my taxpaying burden in the present moment of economic hard times is too simple and too near-sighted. Approving a proposal because a consultant makes promises based on unexplained information is also too simple and possibly blind-sighted.
Let’s keep talking.