I sent the following response to the Editor of the Canon City Daily Record, Michael Alcala firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be great if you sent him your opinion, too.
September 9, 2011
It is disappointing to find that, in the early days of this year’s election campaign, there appears to be a small but organized coterie of critics from outside our local market area who disagree with my pro-business philosophy.
In a free market, small business is not just nice to have, small business is absolutely necessary. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses:
Represent 99.7% of all employer firms;
Employ over half of all private sector employees;
Have generated 64% of net new jobs in the past 15 years.
I do not dispute most of the facts in the most recent letters; in fact I am very proud of my track record of stepping in to do whatever is necessary to bring jobs to our area. I’m perplexed as to how I might appease a citizen who criticizes me both for “…focus[ing] only on the needs of downtown…” and supporting “…the mayor’s pet project (a fast food restaurant on Fremont Drive).“
Our area endured less than 2% growth between 2000 and 2010, while surrounding adjacent communities enjoyed double-digit growth. I attribute that to my predecessors’ attitude of, “If they can’t afford to open a business here, they should go somewhere else,” and “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It IS broke, ladies and gentlemen, and those philosophies do nothing to build and maintain a sustainable local economy. Acknowledging our weaknesses and taking action to improve on them is crucial to our livelihood.
While I had hoped not to have to enter the fray regarding the dinosaur museum this election cycle, since the apparently non-resident authors brought it up, let me address their concerns:
Even though I believe the recent critics of my administration would have your readers believe that “…Councilman Bates, along with his cohorts, stymied a proposal to place the Dinosaur Museum at the Royal Gorge…” and that Mr. Bates was the mastermind behind “…a thinly disguised effort to kill the entire project…” let me remind everyone that the dinosaur museum proposal was passed by the City Council NOT ONCE BUT TWICE, the second time being by unanimous vote. I would propose that quite possibly the project “died” because the business plan was not strong enough to attract investors (a 5% error in projected sales put the operation in the red).
There was never a member of council who I spoke with that was against the project itself. The problem was not the project so much as the process. Lack of information is not an acceptable reason to abstain, yet Council was not given copies of the pro forma to study before or during the discussion. To hide such a potentially controversial issue on the Council’s consent agenda demonstrated a tremendous amount of arrogance and lack of judgment.
I have never before heard of a politician being criticized for asking for more information before spending the equivalent of nearly an entire year’s budget on one special interest project. Those members of council who were able to curb their enthusiasm and take a closer look at the economic viability of the project before they approved it should be commended, and we should be proud to have them watching our back.
Finally, my search through property records, voter records, telephone directories, and even Google have not been able to determine where the authors of the two recent letters live or how to contact them. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with them personally, so please publish my personal contact information
Cañon City Mayor