Letter to the editor: County is coercive

To the editor:

I’m voting no because I can’t consent to rewarding the tactics employed in trying to make the jail expansion a reality. Forcing a combined vote was a purely political act in the first place, specifically undertaken because the county commissioners know a jail expansion is unpopular while a mental health facility has incredibly strong support. Some may call this move ‘genius’, but there is a better word for it: coercion. The entire point is to force people who really don’t want a jail expansion to go along with it in order to get a mental health facility they do want. Between this and the implied threats of funding cuts to social service agencies should we vote no, it is clear the commissioners are happy to try to coerce us into complying with their wishes but don’t really care about ours.

Call their bluff and vote no. Pressure them to do the right thing and separate this into two ballot questions in the future, or get replaced by commissioners who will. If they provide better data and evidence for their cause, or maybe a better plan that focuses on facilities over more beds, we’ll vote for it. And God help them if they think we will sit quietly by while they gut social service programs to force their will over the will of the community.

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