To the editor:

All I have to say about the Salem City Council candidates who are running on a just-say-yes platform is that I’m betting they never raised teenagers. From a mom who has, let me tell you emphatically that just-say-yes is always a disastrous strategy.

Are councilors different than teenagers? Well, they are older … but not necessarily wiser. Like teenagers, they are suffering from peer pressure -- in Salem’s case, political pressure -- and many aren’t thinking through the impacts of their decisions. One councilor just wrote in the paper that just-say-yes equates to optimism. Yikes! It most certainly does not! It equates to recklessness.

The councilors are the city’s risk managers. They are like parents in a family -- they are responsible for minimizing bad impacts of poor ideas. Like ideas that teenagers come up with. And, like we unfortunately get a lot of in Salem. Their purpose is to determine the risks inherent in every proposal, then amend or stop ones that represent too much risk. They did this very effectively with the municipal and church reuse zoning and changed it from a reckless blanket overlay district to a more prudent use variance. And, they can do this again with the currently half-baked accessory use zoning…but not if everyone is a lazy just-say-yes vote.

Hey, I know the path of least resistance, the just-say-yes path, is easier. I really hated having those fights with my teenagers. It made me feel bad. But, it helped my family avoid disasters. Some of my fellow just-say-yes parents learned their lessons the hard way. Hopefully Salem won’t.

Salem is one big family. We need councilors who are brave enough and tough enough to say no to bad ideas and then work hard to get them right. If a council candidate thinks just-say-yes is a good thing, put on your parental hat in the voting booth and just say no.

Jennifer Firth


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