Letters to the editor, mailbox, mail, letter
(Courtesy photo)

The Times-News posted an editorial article in the Opinion section of the paper on Thursday. The argument placed forward by this article was that the incumbent mayoral and city council leadership would be a better option for Gooding voters than the united team of Jeff Brekke, Chuck Cram, and Colin Smith because this new “ignorant” team are not “familiar with what, exactly, the Council can and can’t do.” Many of the points brought forward to support this position are untrue, and others spun in a negative light.

The article starts by attacking the B.C.S team for “presenting a united platform,” calling this a rarity in Idaho politics. Perhaps the Times-News editorial team did not receive their flyer in last week’s mail in which the incumbent candidates presented their own united front? One can now hardly present this as a point of defamation to one team or the other. The next line suggests that voting for a “straight ticket” may not be a good idea, so one must interpret that as meaning that a vote for all of the united incumbents is a bad idea. I concur.

The following line suggests that team B.C.S. has “troubled a significant amount of voters with a campaign flyer that compared Gooding unfavorably with Kimberly.” I wonder if anyone can produce this flyer? I know they cannot. It does not exist. Perhaps this is actually in reference to public comments that were made at this year’s budget meeting where a concerned citizen expressed that Gooding spends $327,000 more annually than Kimberly on road maintenance, a topic that was discussed at the public forum. These public comments were distributed in the name of their author, not-as the Times-News’s editors suggest-by Team B.C.S. I did suggest during the forum that perhaps a look should be taken at this discrepancy in expenses, because it seems to me that Kimberly has done some nice things with their roads in the past decade and apparently with a tighter budget.

Much of the rest of the article goes on to explain how B.C.S “lack a basic understanding of the City Council’s purpose and limits.” I would say that at this point no one lacks an understanding of the current council’s limits. They have been very vocal about what they cannot do. They cannot compel home owners to fix their sidewalks. They cannot compel business owners to spruce up their storefronts. They cannot repair parts of town where any other government entity is involved. In short, they cannot.

However, Team B.C.S. has presented a more optimistic solution to these agreed upon problems. The current council would have us believe it is impossible for city government to build relationships with business owners and home owners and government agencies in an effort to repair and beautify our community. We believe that nothing is impossible, certainly not mutual respect and goal setting, and that it definitely is the responsibility of the city council and mayor to make sure that the community is safe, beautiful, and being run in a fiscally responsible manner.

Anyone who attended the forum meeting (which Travis Quast, Editorial Board Publisher did not) will be able to easily spot the other falsehoods in this article. It was the incumbent team that mentioned wanting to repair the flood wall. This was never mentioned by anyone on B.C.S. as a flaw against the incumbents. The same goes for “potholes” on Main Street. This was an unrelated counterargument raised by current mayor Walt Nelson when he was asked to explain why downtown was so hard to beautify. Because they “can’t even fix a pothole.” Hmm. If B.C.S. was going to mention potholes, there are dozens of others in town that are not on the state highway that could have been identified (ones not currently penciled in for repair in the extravagant road budget…). Of course, anyone who read the Times-News article about the forum would quickly realize that the reporter on the scene was not the most diligent note-taker, as he attributed Chuck Cram’s desire to place speed bumps near the East Park to myself. It isn’t a bad idea, but I didn’t say it. If they don’t know who said what, how can we expect fair and accurate reporting now, weeks later?

The article concludes by making the statement that myself, Jeff Brekke, and Chuck Cram lack the “basic requirement” of political knowledge needed to successfully help govern Gooding. I would counter by suggesting to this article’s authors, unwisely weighing in from what should be an unbiased and professional point-of-view (do any of you even live in Gooding?), that the voting populace of Gooding will see through your loosely threaded spins on the truth and let you know exactly who lacks the “basic requirements” for office this Tuesday. And while I know that this was published in the opinion part of the newspaper, I would also suggest that in this era of “fake news,” a team like yours would be more careful on reporting what they can verify and avoiding speculation.

Colin Smith is a candidate for the Gooding City Council.

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