November 30, 2005
Measure V, Rally Salinas defeat naysayers
What are your thoughts about Rally Salinas! and Measure
Salinas got negative press - locally, nationally and
internationally - when the city threatened to close the
libraries. The criticism heaped upon the leadership of
the city of Salinas was embarrassing - not so much because
it concerned libraries but because it seemed to strike
a self-righteous chord among those who did not appreciate
the budget pressures on cities like Salinas. Negative
coverage spread like wildfire. Civil discourse was displaced
by angry harangues, too often sounding like self-serving
campaigns unappreciative of the courage required by leaders
facing a brutal budget crunch.
How effectively city leaders went about assessing the
budget shortfall and choosing a path forward to address
it - those are discussions for politicians and pundits.
Who knew what and when, and were problems successfully
resolved? That too is for others to critique. Often,
when state governments retain tax dollars previously
earmarked for local jurisdictions, including cities,
the pain is most evident toward the bottom of the revenue
food chain: county and city governments. Mayor Anna Caballero
frequently made that point.
However, after the Nov. 8 election in which voters
approved Measure V, a half-cent sales tax to fund libraries
and other basic city services, this much is clear: The
people of Salinas can celebrate because they averted
a long-term crisis in public services.
Sacrifices were made by many during a period of budget
cuts as citizens pitched in with their own volunteer
Forthright communication replaced counter-productive
rhetoric, and dollars were raised through the Rally Salinas!
campaign to keep libraries open, albeit on a much-curtailed
Courageous decisions were made along the way, and Measure
V was embraced by 61 percent of the voters.
By gauging the process against the Bracher Center's
Eight Attributes of an Integrity Centered Organization,
it's easy to see how the charitable spirit of Salinas
permeated the process. Partnerships between and among
the rich and the not-so-rich caused a groundswell of
Rally Salinas! challenged those beyond local borders
to recognize that Salinas did care about its libraries
and other services.
The louder the media's voices of condemnation and ridicule,
the more firmly heels dug in to confirm the integrity
and the generous community stewardship of Salinas.
Pride "rallied Salinas," and Measure V confirmed
that integrity and Salinas won big, again.