This isn’t a personal attack
Citizens of Baldwin. The past week which was filled with holiday spirit, the tradition of Thanksgiving, and unfortunately the air of small town politics turned to mudslinging. As a major participatent in the exchange of fire over the business/recreational park, I would like to point out that when I direct questions at Mr. Paine this is not a personal attack on the individual. These questions are ones that could be answered by any of the city council members and, of course, our mayor. When I vent the frustration that is felt in this
community at Mr. Paine, it is meant more for the decision makers of this city, who will not reply to our queries for information.
To date, during this lively political debate only one city councilman has responded to the challenge to write the paper or contact me to discuss this park. I ask the citizens of Baldwin is this representative government? Do you feel that your interests or even concerns are being heard? While walking my neighborhood this weekend, collecting signatures for our petition to stop this city development, I would have to say that the population is totally
against this park. The lack of information, and lack of citizen input from its inception are the reasons for this civic wide frustration. In my travels I discovered several things. One, I did not have one person refuse to sign our petition. Two, the population seems to be following this situation closely and is becoming more agressive about the lack of tangible information from city hall. And third, although I was less than kind to the one councilman who has spoken up, people appreciate "plain talk" in my articles, and are searching in vain for information to validate the expenditure of capital by the city to buy this land.
Since I have declared my candidacy for city council, naturally people asked hard questions about what my agenda would be if elected. As one council member my impact will be minimal, that is why I hope that we have four fresh faces on the council and in the mayor's seat come April. Well in brief these are my main points. Baldwin is largely a bedroom community; more than 80 percent of
us leave town every day to work in nearby cities. We live here for many reasons which can be lumped together in the phrase "quality of life." It is the small town air, the good schools, lack of crime, knowing your neighbor, and the other 100 things that are great about this city. We should focus internally to help increase these nice features of our abode. Simple things like sidewalks, street lights, maintaining adequate police and fire protection. We should take our hard earned tax dollars and use them to "redevelop" the aging interior of our city. By this I mean rebuild the streets that are in decay, construct a storm sewer system to handle runoff, and connect our interior with sidewalks to encourage pedestrian traffic.
Further I feel that a recreational park is a very high priority. And facing hard facts it will take tax support to have one. But we should work together with our other community assets like USD 348 and Baker University to build a complex for the entire community. Baker has already shown an eagerness to help, with the generous offer of land earlier this year, and it was shunned. Mistakes like this can not be allowed to occur. Further, we have to finish our infrastructure rebuilding program that is underway, and begin planning for what the city's needs will be in 2020, not 2002. Nearsightedness in planning has been a major stumbling block in the past; let's learn from the mistakes of poor vision for the future. As to the issue of an industrial park, there are many costs and issues that surround the idea. But good location, on the highway, zoned properly and developed with the idea in mind to let the private sector take the financial risk, and the city collect the taxes from it, makes sense. A park, isolated in the "boonies" with little hope of success, and no public support does not.
I look forward to your continued participation in this debate Mr. Paine, and I hope that your silence last week is not an indication that you have given up your column. I can promise you this, Mr. Paine, city council members, Mr. Mayor, and above all the public, I have no intention of being muffled on this subject. As I stated last week I am in this for the long haul, and it is way too early to throw in the towel.