Competition is good

To the Editor:

After reading some of the recent letters to the editor I felt the need to rebut some accusations directed at the FABGC candidates and their supporters. 

One letter in particular discussed unity by ironically attacking our fellow residents motives for running . This letter criticizes the FABGC candidates for doing exactly what he promotes, volunteering their time to make Garden City a better place to live. The fact they are running independently of the POA system doesn’t necessarily make their reason for running wrong. His explanation of the virtue of the POAs’ unelected volunteer nominating committees as opposed to the nefarious-sounding unelected “executive board” that nominates the candidates to run on the FABGC slate, sounds to me as a distinction in search of a difference. They are both an unelected group of volunteers deciding on who we vote for. Why is one ok and the other somehow undemocratic? Furthermore he accuses these volunteers of demeaning and ostracizing other citizens which is literally exactly what he is doing to FABGC in his letter and what other people did to them during their campaign last year. It was quite a sight  to see letters attacking FABGC candidates and their motives just because they dare challenge the existing status quo. These attacks are hardly creating the  harmonious community which he speaks of and which we all should aim for. How exactly are these FABGC  candidates beholden to their “executive board“ evil overlords anymore than the POA candidates beholden to their nominating committees? Are they fired If they don’t follow the Board’s marching orders?  Do they lose their livelihood as unpaid volunteers? I have to imagine if they indeed do the bidding of these shadowy figures, to the detriment of their fellow residents, they would be resoundingly defeated in the next election. 

The Community Agreement has served our community relatively well but if it cannot stand even the slightest challenge perhaps it is not necessarily the end all be all of town government. The political discord referenced in our national parties is not a recent development in our democracy (the Civil War stands out as an example)  nor unique to political party rule. It occurs  in all forms of democratic  governance. It has always been there and no system of government, including our Community Agreement, will magically eliminate it.  It is a byproduct of different opinions so it cannot be eliminated nor should it be for it provides a healthy and necessary airing of different ideas. Civility can still  be practiced more in our political debates and disagreements and should be.

I have lived in town for 26 years and we are still debating, hotly at times, the fate of St. Paul’s, pin hole pipe leaks and other water quality issues etc. As a causal observer, I would say our Community Agreement is no better or worse in getting things done than any other political system in this great country of ours. That said, FABGC  is not a threat to the POA  system of government.  It is competition,  which is the best mechanism I know to hold people accountable and to get the best  possible outcome.

In an effort to be fully transparent I personally know and I am friends with two members of the FABGC and can attest that the only reason they volunteered is to address issues, like the monster poles, the enormous bid to renovate the fire house and water quality issues which they felt were not being addressed properly by the previous Trustees.  You may disagree with their method of running, as is your right, but leave out the personal attacks and the implications of unseemly  reasons for volunteering to run.  If we want our fellow neighbors to continue to volunteer their  time and energy the least we can do is not attack their motives. You may criticize their positions all you want but leave the personal attacks out. Our town might be a a little more harmonious place to live in if we do. 

Glenn King 

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