It appears an open rebellion is underway by some McMinnville residents. Citizens are in opposition to a decision by city officials to move forward with a $9.2 million project to renovate and expand the Civic Center. A resolution was approved to borrow up to $10 million to cover expenses.
Protesters have 20 days of the date the resolution on the project’s financing is advertised to present the petition to the Warren County Election Commission. It must be signed by 10 percent of the registered city voters, or approximately 630.
By signing the petition, those individuals are saying, "We want a voice in making this decision.” That’s it. Signing, by itself, does not stop the project. If the appropriate number of signatures is obtained, voters will then get to cast for or against the project.
I’m sure everyone has different reasons for signing or not signing. Opponents have said it’s too much money and it doesn’t even include an indoor pool. Supporters want the project period. Those reasons are among others, but they seem to be the majority of responses.
I’m perfectly OK with an uprising by people who want to challenge authority. Challenging authority is the American way. What’s unacceptable to me is what appears to be an attempt to mislead people into signing the petition, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Some of those people have ulterior motives that are blatantly obvious to anyone with common sense. I’ll not go further into that assertion.
What I will say is I saw a Facebook post urging people to voice their disapproval for the absence of an indoor pool in the project by signing the petition. That, in my opinion, is deceptive. Once signed, protesters will state “these people do not want this project” when the truth is they signed it because they want an indoor pool.
If you want voters to decide the fate of the project, that’s fine. By signing this petition, you are not making any decision regarding an indoor pool and that needs to be clearly understood. If this petition is successful in getting the question placed before voters, that final decision – pass or fail – will do nothing regarding an indoor pool.
I had one person in opposition to the project tell me they thought residents believe an indoor pool is included in the project. He said people see the newspaper headlines about the city considering an indoor pool and they see headlines about a Civic Center project. From headlines only, they believe the project is an indoor pool.
That’s a huge leap in deduction, in my opinion, and I hope it’s 100 percent inaccurate. I place in every article about the project that it does not include an indoor pool.
Again, the project does not include an indoor pool. While I’ve made that clear, I wish people pushing this referendum would do the same. Misleading people in order to obtain signatures is not right.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.