I recently read both "My Turn" columns by Dale Anderson and Marc Wheeler regarding land purchases and thought both were well-written, however, with a very different point of view. I thought both columns were pretty good. I agreed more with Dale's view that perhaps fiscal restraint ought to be exercised, particularly in purchasing additional land for unknown public purposes. I also agreed with Dale's view that a bigger, better library in the Valley is needed.
What I found surprising was the venom expressed in several letters to the editor toward Dale for expressing his opinion. I did not consider Dale's letter to be an attack on Marc Wheeler. Rather, that he disagreed with Marc and the Assembly action and sought to express his reasons to a wider audience. I didn't have time to attend the meetings regarding this issue and I appreciate letters such as the ones written by Dale and Marc. Both letters made some good points. Neither letter included name calling, labeling or stereotyping such as the one by Kim Metcalfe. I had to re-read Dale's article again after reading Kim's letter to see if Dale had really talked about the road issue as Kim intimated. Apparently, Kim feels that everyone in this vibrant, diverse community should all agree and no diversity of opinion is allowed. Her letter was a great example of doing what she doesn't want others to do. Dale did not call anyone names, label anyone, or categorize anyone. He kept to his point about land purchases. Marc Wheeler kept to the point as well.
Maybe Dale thought money of that magnitude should be spent on the 2001 Assembly goals and priorities. The purchase of land for a library is not on that list. Where did the funds come from? When the hospital did not have enough funds to build its proposed heliport, the manager indicated that funds may have to be taken from other projects. What project will not be built now that the city purchased another piece of wetlands that no private developer would invest in? The land was on the market for quite a while with no takers because of the tremendous problems with the site. The site was noted as needing another $500,000 of improvements in order to make it useable for development. Where will that money come from? And there was no agreement about what the land should be used for.
Most opinions that were given in the newspaper about the library location stated the library should stay on the other side of the highway, and even stay in the Mendenhall Mall. I noted that one of the 2001 Assembly goals is to "maintain healthy downtown business environment." Nothing is included about maintaining a healthy business environment in the Valley. Keeping the library in the business district would be beneficial in many ways - both to business and the public.
I think it is a good thing to have a difference of opinion on the Assembly. When everyone nods their heads in agreement all the time, we should all be worried.