Paul Ryan, named Saturday Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, said the following in his speech: “Real solutions can be delivered. But it will take leadership. And, the courage to tell you the truth.” Bravo! But after a little thought, the famous Jack Nicholson movie line came to mind: “You can’t handle the truth!”
Apparently, that is what most politicians believe of the public. Sadly, they seem to be right in many cases. The public is often ill-informed, sometimes by design, but too often by choice. So, how often at the local level are we not told the whole truth because somebody thinks we might not be able to handle it? Because we might make a different decision if we had a clear understanding? How often do we, as citizens, fail to seek out the whole truth?
What is the whole truth about the city of Durango franchise fee? In place for decades, maybe it seemed there was no need for a clear explanation to voters. But to the surprise of some, the voters rejected the vague, unsupported measure. La Plata Electric Association did little to clarify the fee by how it passes it on to customers. Now the issue is set to show up again on the November ballot. More individuals will be eligible to cast a vote. Will they understand what they’re voting for or against?
What is the whole truth about the proposed Organically Managed Parks Ordinance? What will be the true impact to the city? What are the facts and what are scare tactics? Maybe we should ask more questions before signing a petition. We definitely need to ask more questions when the measure makes it to the ballot.
Yes, the truth can be hard to swallow. It doesn’t always fully support a position we might hold and sometimes we hear only what we want to hear. But let’s try to be adults here. Insist on the truth. And take some responsibility for seeking it out. Go after the whole truth and nothing but the truth as we weigh choices that will impact the future of this community.
Sidny Zink is a CPA and former Durango city councilor and mayor. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.