Dear Editor:

Char Pasquale (Mountain Mail Aug. 26) insists MJB is “out of touch” with issues related to city government.

Ms. Pasquale states “you only have to watch one or two council meetings to know there is no dark agenda and no sign of a debacle.” I recommend watching Salida City Council meetings Oct. 16, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4 for an excess of “debacle.”

If Ms. Pasquale is talking about more recent meetings, many citizens have stopped speaking at meetings because council doesn’t listen. Council has an agenda. Anyone who disagrees is ignored. This council’s overall results are not one of “listening, problem solving, new ideas and a friendly atmosphere,” unless you are one of the chosen few.

Further, no one places their “dark agenda” on an actual agenda. You say the dark agenda does not exist? Wait a few weeks and you’ll have all you can handle, all from a single Aug. 20 meeting.

Ms. Pasquale then states “how well our elected officials are taking care of business.” There are no specific examples, but her laundry list of supposed accomplishments includes “things like housing, child care, parking, the health of the city budget.”

Just because there is unparalleled building of high-priced condos does not mean the “housing” picture has improved. Density hasn’t made Salida more affordable – just the opposite.

Ditto “child care.” What has council done to improve child care in Salida?

“Parking”? The absence of parking code enforcement downtown has caused a crisis. People park in 2-hour limit parking spaces for days without consequence.

“The health of the city budget”? Never mind council has slowed street improvements to free up money for pet projects. After all “tourists do not come to Salida for our streets.”

Never mind they approved another $1 million pool project when the pool operates at a deficit of over $400,000/year. This means the pool loses more than $1,000/day – just by being open. And, how many tens of thousands in legal fees has the city spent to defend the city administrator?

Ms. Pasquale, citizens do care about transparency and the way their dollars are spent. Council’s lack of transparency is rampant: the secret/illegal hiring of then-interim city attorney, secret firing of Larry Lorentzen, secret/illegal hiring of Drew Nelson, secret $20,000 payment to Tom Bomer, the city’s anemic response when Toni Fox illegally used the city logo to sway an election, overriding the Historic Preservation Commission for the Manhattan Hotel, overriding P&Z to allow hemp to be grown within city limits, concealing the letter Ben Scanga wrote to P.T., the secret $51,000 negotiations with Dara MacDonald. So sorry you feel these are concerns citizens don’t “care about.”

Ms. Pasquale then tells us “What you won’t see is anger, character bashing or tension.” Do you know what else you also won’t see? Answers to simple questions. This mayor/council has made great pains to avoid answering questions. They have no truthful way to defend their actions. Guess council ain’t got time for transparency.


Lorene Farney,