To the Editor,
Over the past few weeks, several letters have been published in the paper regarding the negative impacts of the recently passed pool levy on our community. Some of these concerns are legitimate and have been eloquently expressed; others are not and have not. Both deserve thoughtful consideration and discussion.
Some letters mention the vote's closeness, using it to undercut the legitimacy of the levy's passage. They're absolutely right in stating a 2 percent margin of victory is very small. But it's still a win. The president earned re-election by a margin of 51 to 48 percent. Is he to govern as if he's only in charge of half the country? Of course not. It doesn't matter if the margin was 20 percent, 2 percent, or 2; in America's elections, for better or worse, winner takes all.
Other letters claim the people opposing the pool levy had inadequate resources to mount serious opposition to its supporters and wondered if the vote truly represented the sentiment of the district. If the pool's opponents felt the pool would be such a detriment to our community, they could have organized like-minded individuals (of which they feel there are many) to form a No Pool committee encouraging people to vote against the pool and contribute financially to aid in its defeat if they felt so inclined. But they didn't.
Proponents of the pool chose to invest their financial and personal resources into its passage; they should be lauded for their decision to participate in the political process, not derided because the opposing position did not. Every choice has consequences. Those opposing the pool chose not to organize a concerted effort toward its defeat. It was their choice to make, but they must now face the consequences of making it.
Others mention the adverse financial impact of the new pool, especially to those on fixed incomes. I don't doubt that it will be harder for some to make ends meet. However, the letters fail to mention the potential financial benefits. More local amenities, like a movie theater or a pool, might make people moving to the area more willing to settle in Madras. More growth means more property ownership means a larger revenue pool means a smaller per capita tax burden. With a prison potentially on the way, the time to build attractive public facilities is now.
Businesses and industries must spend money to make money. Why should cities and towns be any different? Some letters suggest those who don't want the pool should be excluded from paying for it. I think that's a wonderful idea. As a young healthy male, I don't use Jefferson County EMS or the hospital, so I probably shouldn't pay taxes for them. I also don't use the jail, the senior center, or the schools, so I shouldn't pay for them either. I'm sure that every taxpayer in Jefferson County pays for something that they really don't like, but the concept of allowing people to pick and choose which taxes to pay or not pay would result in anarchy.
Others suggest the pool should pay those who opposed it to help them in order to help them cope with their loss. Creating a culture of victimhood for those who don't get their way in an election; whatever happened to humility in defeat and overcoming difficulties? Apparently the lessons we learned while growing up we must unlearn when we become actual adults.
There are legitimate concerns about the pool. I for one don't like where it was sited, in an unimproved area with no existing paved roads or sewer hookups, which I'm sure made it more expensive. However, despite how one feels about it, the pool levy passed. We should look to the future and view it as an opportunity instead of a burden.