Addressing Real Issues with Real Facts

Yaysayer by Jen Knoedl

Facts Really Do Matter

in Addison Grove/Public Information Act by

We recently came upon a five-page document entitled “An Open Letter to the Naysayers” in which the author Lewis F. McLain, Jr., a consultant, trainer and writer of local government issues — suggests messages which citizens (and local government employees) should communicate regarding “naysayers.”

If the name sounds familiar, yes, this is the same Lewis F. McClain, Jr. who seems to have ignored his own words of advice given his recent posts on another website.

In his introduction McLain writes, “It is so easy to be a naysayer. The poison spreads and before long there is a feeding frenzy to attack just for the sake of attacking.

“I have seen mean-spirited people who sound like they know what they are talking about whip a group of people into a tizzy who are drawn into the fight but have no clue about the substance of the inflammatory language being used. There is always a telling sign because the Naysayers start throwing in words like ‘transparency’ and ‘waste’ but have no specific point when you try to pin them down on their assertion.

“Naysayers want to undo, break down or at least thwart the work of many good people. This negative movement has got to be offset.”

We couldn’t agree more. That is exactly why Facts Matter came into existence.

Following are just a few of McLain’s suggestions:

All of our analysis and statements will be fact-based with any kind of opinion stated separately. We will encourage the same from the naysayers and call them into question when blended and false.

Facts Matter has done just that — providing you with actual facts and actual documents about issues that others have misrepresented or stated as personal accusations or opinions.

We will take to task any naysayer who makes unfounded statements, uses and promotes false information and any misuse of data that sounds like facts and are asserted as the truth.  Our findings will be made public.

Our presentation of the facts about property tax is a perfect example of correcting an untruth. As was the piece about employee compensation.

We are supportive of the Public Information Act, for open government in all of its forms and for transparency. However, we discourage petty and numerous requests that are clearly for the purpose of intimidation and nuisance and will point out those abuses as we learn about them.

While this is something we have not yet written about, the statement pretty well speaks for itself and the fact is that numerous requests from one group of people have driven up FOIA costs yet the same group complains of FOIA expenses and the fact that some requests must now be paid for.

We will explain that true innovations that will benefit the future often require an investment today. Like in any business where a certain amount of research and development investment is necessary to make strides in improved service delivery, local governments are no different.

The courage to move forward with the Addison Grove project is a fine example of this. The completed development will contribute nearly $100 million to the Town’s tax base, helping to provide the kind of first-class services our town is known for. The $6.5 million infrastructure reimbursement has not only been handled in a responsible manner, but is necessary to ensure the Town’s future infrastructure.

How interesting that this open letter to the Naysayers confirms that the Facts Matter effort to continually bring facts to the forefront is exactly what is needed to ensure that reality prevails versus fabricated distortions and personal innuendoes. And while it is clear that some minds are so tightly closed even facts don’t matter, we will continue to do what’s right and tell the truth supported with facts.

Yaysayer photo by Jen Knoedl via Flickr.

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