By Samuel Strait, Reporter at Large – July 23, 2021
Conscience is an inner feeling or voice that acts as a guide to the
rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior. Very often it serves as a
wake up call to whether or not what you have done is the proper way to
go forward. If for example, the path that you have taken to get to a
certain point is fraught with questionable behavior or practice, your
conscience gives you the opportunity to determine if you have conducted
yourself in a manner that MOST, not 50% plus one or by $19 AND CHANGE,
do not feel your behavior is objectionable. After the recent debacle
surrounding the Crescent Fire Protection District’s (CFPD) quest for a funding
increase, the District’s Board might have asked themselves is my
conscience clear of any sense that the process was not above board?
Did the measure really address the issue of whether or not the election
process was fair? Were the electorate, those property owners truly well
informed about what the consequences of what the passage meant to them?
Was there a win at all costs exhibited in the Fire Fighter Community
rather than an objective look at what was really necessary to provide
service? Was weighted ballots and caps of $1,000 on large property
owners an equitable way of learning the truth about the rightness of the
It is certainly clear that there are many things about the most recent
election process that the CFPD does not care about or does not wish to
know about in the process that has just completed. When a bit over 5,000
ballots are mailed to parcel owners and only 1738 are received in
return, that represents less than 34% of those that will be affected by
the assessment. Furthermore less than 17% of those affected by the
measure encumbered the entire district with the tax increase. Hardly a
majority. Granted most elections are not represented by the entire
electorate, but it serves to highlight just how unpopular the decision
to continue in the way that the District’s Board has chosen to proceed.
It begs the question, does the District’s Board have the best intentions
towards the people it serves? In this case probably a better method of
going about this election should have been employed. As in the fall
during the previous failed measure, the District had a golden
opportunity to insure a more equitable process and a less convoluted
outcome. They chose instead to hire a company which holds winning above
all else. The Board has chosen to follow along. Where is your
conscience? And what should it be telling you?
Having a conscience that leads a person along a path that enshrines
“rightness” is the bedrock of a properly functioning society. It was
certainly clear to those that wrote the Constitution which guides this
Country along the path of what should be right. Our early leadership
correctly identified the notion that when you as a governing body wish
to ask for money from the electorate, more than a simple majority should
be required. For some time now this practice has been dispensed with
in a growing number of instances and correspondingly given the
electorate more and more ammunition in opposition to such practices.
Simple majorities where opposition to a measure nearly equals that of
the “winning side” merely enhances the feelings of exclusion and breeds
an under current of dissatisfaction with what ever decision is reached.
This is where it is crucial for the District to examine their
collective consciences and ask themselves is this the right way to
proceed? Have we done everything possible to insure we are on the right
side of the equation? In this case probably not.