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Our county council chambers are emblazoned with a quotation attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.”
During the last two years, I have served as chair of the White Rock Master Plan Implementation Committee. Prior to that, I served on the steering committee that assisted MIC with their master plan study for the White Rock community center.
However, I write today as a private individual, not as a member of the WRMPIC.
My service on the committee has given me the opportunity to become cquainted both with the members of the county council and with a number of the county staff. I have occasionally strongly disagreed with some of these individuals, but I have never felt I had any cause to question their decency or their integrity.
I have developed a particularly high regard for Steve Brugger, who has worked closely with our committee.
Steve has been careful to make clear what he does and does not know, which I consider an indication of his professionalism.
On August 20, the Monitor published a letter from Allen Cogbill, whom I do not know, in which he questioned whether land donations to developers in pursuit of affordable housing violate the Anti-Donation Clause of the New Mexico state constitution.
It’s a fair question as far as it goes, one to which I cannot claim to know the answer.
And I think there are other reasons to question the wisdom of the affordable housing initiative.
However, my concern at the moment is not with the legality or advisability of the land donations.
My concern is with what Cogbill writes next: That “there are many in the county” (who he does not name) who already believe that several county councilors and many county employees” (who he also does not name) “are corrupt” (without any particulars.)
In my book, a man who repeats unsourced accusations is fully responsible for them.
An accusation directed at “several” out of a council of seven, or “many” out of any large group, impugns the reputation of them all.
And a vague accusation that they are “corrupt” invites the conclusion that they have freezers full of bribe money, not just that they listen to special interests the accuser dislikes.
I am profoundly disappointed that a member of this community would publish a letter so mean-spirited and displaying such reckless disregard for the truth.
We do not need this coarsening of our public discourse.
Kent G. Budge