Dear Editor, 1) “This is a campaign of semantics and good intentions, with supporters seeming to be remarkably unconcerned with substance” [all quotes taken from “Page Two,” May 5]. I support it and am concerned with the substance. 2) “Read them. They are ridiculously crammed with dictates and restrictions.” Yes, they are. It is obviously an attempt to make the ammendment have teeth by giving it specificity and not some general guideline. I'd like to look at other ammendments to the city charter to compare it. 3) “These are proposed changes to the city charter, the core document that structures the city: They are not guidelines, or even laws, but charter amendments!” Unless I am mistaken, ammendments are the only mechanism for citizen originated proposals to make it into our city government. There is no way to put guidelines or laws on the ballot, just charter ammendments. 4) “Given that no one can reasonably estimate the actual costs of these propositions, the social and economic justice communities are again shocked, if not exactly surprised, by the arrogance of the environmentalists' privileged take on the matters at hand.” I'm not in favor of this for enviromental reasons, but for social justice and good government reasons. 5) “Supporters' tunnel-vision certainty that these amendments will do exactly what they believe they'll do is troubling.” I am entirely confident there will be some unwanted reprecussions. I think that on the whole however the good will outweigh the bad. 6) “In pursuing this 'open government' agenda, the framers of these propositions did much of what they supposedly 'oppose.' They were put together quickly by a relatively small group, without much public input.” Dunno, I wasn't involved in the creation of it, I have no idea how transparent the process was. I tend to think he's right though, it is not terribly well written, and it definitely looks like it could use more consideration. So what. There isn't a charter proposal that that isn't true of to some degree. 7) “As another example of 'Do what we say not what we do,' I had an e-mail exchange with a gentleman who wrote Michael King that we must be opposed to Prop. 1 because it 'will add to [the continuing declines in print media circulation and revenues] because the public will be able to learn what city hall is doing over the Internet and not from the Statesman and Chronicle.'" [And he didn't want me to publish it.] Uh, again so what? 8) “The form of this debate is as upsetting as the content of the propositions.” Then focus on the content and rise above the bait.
R. Michael Litchfield
[Louis Black responds: "Unless I am mistaken, ammendments are the only mechanism for citizen originated proposals to make it into our city government." Of course, I didn't limit it to citizen originated proposals, there is the old-fashioned, constitutional way of lobbying your elected representatives, but still you are mistaken, as there are also "ordinances."]