Integrity Matters
November 30, 2005

Measure V, Rally Salinas defeat naysayers

Question: (E-212)

Dear Jim:

What are your thoughts about Rally Salinas! and Measure V?


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 efforts.

Forthright communication replaced counter-productive rhetoric, and dollars were raised through the Rally Salinas! campaign to keep libraries open, albeit on a much-curtailed schedule.

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 single-mindedness.

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.

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