To the editor:
I am concerned that recent Journal-World reports on the activities of Horizon 2020 task groups might be misinterpreted by some readers.
First, the Saturday Column (April 10) epitomizes the paranoia of the ill-informed. There is considerable wisdom in that reporter's assessment of H2020 as "an extremely important exercise (that) will play a significant role in the development of the city and county." However, I take issue with his characterization that "biased and partisan local residents are submitting reports and background material" because "those who have targeted goals for their particular interests are using every opportunity to get their plans and objectives into the planning document." Hogwash.
Background papers may have been self-serving, but such assertions misinterpret the need of task group members to educate each other on the arcane nuances of planning. I have learned a great deal from papers prepared by those with whom I usually disagree.
Second, Chamber of Commerce President Gary Toebben did a grave disservice to H2020 members in his J-W Progress Edition article (April 30). His reduction ad absurdum of the H2020 process to a simple "growth versus no-growth" dichotomy is at odds with actual task group debates. I feel honored to be serving on the Growth Management Subcommittee where his assertion has been proven dead wrong.
Although our subcommittee is dominated by real estate-developer-building-farmer "special interests," I have never heard anyone define our task in such simplistic terms. Months ago, we immediately set to work framing the real issue: planned growth vs. unplanned growth, and decided planned growth is the desirable outcome for our city and county.
Within our subcommittee, each individual has strong personal feelings about the future of Douglas County, but we have consented to use objective data and wise planning to generate a strong, practical land use proposal.
Douglas County citizens should appreciate the extraordinary efforts of their neighbors in working to design the best possible comprehensive plan. I have seen no evidence of any conspiracy to exclude interested citizens from the process and feel it is unfair to criticize those working so hard on behalf of our community. I ask the J-W to consider assigning reporters to H2020 meetings and report on what is actually happening. Finally, I urge all citizens to share concerns with task group members.