by Jim Lewis
I want to thank Salem Weekly and especially Helen Caswell for reaching out and inviting me to communicate with their readers. I was taken by the statement from Helen that “AP wanted to have this series so we can all see each other as fellow humans who care very much about the community” The other thing that prompted me to respond was the statement from Helen that everyone at Salem Weekly believed in” Cordial Exchange”. A key really to any organizations success in my opinion. And something I know I could do better at.
I’ll be honest, over the last year I have visited the Salem Weekly on line site many times and read the articles comments and attached blogs. I come away with a version of me, that simply put, has me as a bought and paid for tool of the Chamber of Commerce , An Ultra-Right Wing Conservative that Clearly does not have the City of Salem’s best interest in mind. Oh, and I am a member of a Right Wing Republican City Council led by a dictatorial Mayor who’s only interest is building a legacy. ( One could argue that Anna Petersons Legacy was built long before she became Mayor)
OK, I’m not going to waste too many of my 450 words on defending myself. I do want to point out a couple of facts. Up till late October 2013 I was a registered Democrat and I can assure you, because of my beliefs neither of the two major parties would have me !! The broad non-positive generalities , I think are outside the “cordial exchange” circle. Critique the specific comments, statements or votes on their merits but don’t Tag or Brand people. If for no other reason the more you stay inside that circle of cordial exchange the better chance to get your message across. Enough said for now on this.
I did want to address the issue of the Police Facility and how best to proceed. The way it looks to me is we have a strong opinion from one group in Salem on a location, size and cost. The group the city has hired to work with them has narrowed the site down to two, they have a size recommendation and the cost estimates should be out soon.
There are a couple of things that are bothering me. Currently Salem uses about 48,000 sq. ft. for 187 officers. Medford has a facility of 46,000 sq. ft. , about the same as Salem but Medford has only 103 officers OK, we have been told Salem needs a bigger facility, so this could be seen as evidence of that. What puzzles me is that I have been told that Medford is also looking to build a new facility ??
Is Salem as a practical matter a build behind ?? Have we waited way too long to bring this issue to the voters ?? I don’t Know !!
I do know that the current police facility as it is now is dysfunctional and does not serve this city as it should and just as importantly it does not service adequately the officers and employees that work for the Salem police department.
I think once all the information is out the community will have a chance to discuss and hopefully move forward “together”
Jim Lewis is the current city councilor for ward 8 which is all of West Salem except for that part located in Ward 1. Lewis retired as Executive Director of the Salem Association of Realtors in June of 2015 where he had been Director since October 2009. Before joining the Realtor Association Lewis spent 30 years in the Title and Escrow Industry, 20 years of which were in Management. Before being elected to the Salem City Council Lewis spent 10 years on Salem’s Planning Commission , 5 years as vice-president and two years as President.
Salem Weekly seeks to widen community understanding by providing ALL our city councilors the means to reach our readers by discussing any topic they wish in 2016. We are kicking off the year with Councilor Jim Lewis, who has served for Ward 8 since 2014. We plan to hear from other “even” numbered councilors this spring and then, after the May election, the “odd” numbered councilors for the seats that will be decided in May.