As President of RAID, I feel compelled to answer your unwarranted attack on our group that appeared in last Sunday's Miner, Ms. Busch. Usually we tend to ignore attacks on us and let the facts speak for themselves, but this latest assault needs to be answered because your statements are inflammatory and false.
You began your article with a few complimentary items about living in this wonderful town and it appeared that you had something positive to say, but then your article deteriorates into negativity, distortion of facts and innuendo that detracts from your opening. I choose not to slip into your mud-slinging tactics and instead I'll speak to the issues at hand.
You first attack our name and say we should be accused of being against all growth and being anti-Kingman, yet you fail to cite any one instance that supports your accusation. Of course, you also fail to list our accomplishments, such as preventing our City Council from giving away our well sites in Golden Valley to Mr. Rhodes at a price well below their market value, or most recently speaking out at the last Council meeting on the proposed changes in the C-1 zoning text that would allow numerous undesirable businesses into our neighborhoods.
Also, a number of our members spoke in support of Joy Brotherton in her effort to rezone residential property to commercial that was in the midst of mostly already commercial zoned properties so that the people living there were able to sell their properties for a reasonable price.
You speak of the bond issue as if it is the salvation of this community, and if it were presented properly, I'm sure it would be accepted more readily by the public. The property and business owners of this town would be willing to vote for SPECIFIC PROJECTS, not baskets of wish lists that are being presented to us. You also fail to mention that this $56 million stealth property tax gives this lame duck Council much too much latitude on how the money is to be spent since none of the projects listed in each package is mandatory and this actually is a $56 million blank check to an administration that has demonstrated an inability to make responsible decisions (see first Beecher evaluation "consensus").
Could some of this bond money be used to finance the proposed Kingman Crossing traffic interchange? Possibly, since the city officials admit that the Streets and Traffic package funds could be diverted to be used for an "emergency." Remember, Vestar has publicly stated that they do not intend to pay for any part of the proposed interchange. Our position is to wait one year and hopefully a new mayor and three new Council members will present us with specific projects to accept or deny. So, Ms. Busch, in the end it is about this Council.
In one paragraph you comment on how busy Centennial Park is and how we need to pass the bond package to buy more park space. You ask for some positive solutions-- well how about NOT SELLING our 168 acres of Park/Open Space property south of the proposed Kingman Crossing traffic interchange, so that we can then spend more than $8 million in the bond issue to buy more park space!
You speak about leaving your grandchildren a legacy and you errantly suggest that RAID members have no family in Kingman. Allow me to introduce a few members of our group to you. We have two retired police officers, a founding member who is a respected reporter for a local newspaper (not the Miner), a member of the probation department in town and two retired members from the Mohave County Planning and Zoning Department, along with several members of the local Elk's Lodge.
One of our founding members does have children and grandchildren in town and she wants to leave them a legacy of a beautiful, slowly maturing city, not the legacy of a $56 million debt to be paid off by those same future generations. As you can see, we are a diverse group working toward a common cause, the betterment of Kingman.
The property owners in town just recently received their tax bill from Mohave County. For some, it is a significant increase and will cause a financial hardship to those on fixed income and the working folks on the lower end of the wage scale. Social Security is not keeping up with the rise in the cost of living, but then, being a financial analyst, you must know this, yet the city officials keep asking for more money. Mr. Beecher is gone, but his tax-and-spend policy is still in effect.
In closing, you suggest that we "go back to where we came from." Sorry, Ms. Busch, we are here to stay and we intend to continue speaking up for the betterment of the entire community, not for just a few special interest groups. We have some members who have been in this town long before you got here, and they are some of our most active members. They know how much this town needs a group like RAID to help protect the interests of the "little guy and gal," something the elected Council members are supposed to do, but some quickly forget their mandate and become the friends of big business instead. An unintended consequence of all the recent arrivals is that we know how to stand up and respectfully speak for our rights and will not be intimidated by name-calling or suggestions we leave town.
I suggest that if you want to learn about who we are and what we are about, please go to our Web site, KINGMANRAID.INFO, and perhaps you will see what we are. We are totally comprised of Kingman residents, we have no out-of-town representatives on our board like another group pushing for the bond issue. Ask yourself why people living in Henderson and Phoenix are coming to Kingman to push for the bond issue in our town?
As you say, Ms. Busch, "let's get past this," vote NO ON ALL FOUR ISSUES this Nov. 6 and let's start anew next year with new faces on the City Council, the mayor's seat and in the city manager's chair. Perhaps then we all can go forward with the RESPONSIBLE growth that we all deserve and can afford. Honest, open governance is a right, not an option.