IMO: Editorial Misinformation

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The results of Redding’s referendum vote on May 8 sent a clear message that the majority of those who voted were not in favor of the budget. At almost 2:1 they voted NO. Not only was the message loud and clear, there were an unprecedented amount of citizens who came out to be heard. Thirty percent of registered voters may not seem like a lot of community involvement, but it was more than expected: only 1400 ballots were printed and 800 more needed to be photocopied… initiating a hand count.

At the Board of Finance meeting that convened that evening, two BoF members immediately started exclaiming “Misinformation!” Instead of listening to the message sent by the votes, these members of the Board of Finance, also part of the Redding Civic League, immediately tried to claim the results were skewed.

Members of the RCL have picked up the banner of “Misinformation” and run with it on social media.

But what is “Misinformation?” I googled the word and came up with this:

  • False or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive.

Are these elected members of the BoF really trying to say that information was put out purposely to DELIBERATELY DECEIVE the voters?

Or are they saying that two thirds of the voters are incapable of making their own decisions? That after years of surpluses and declining enrollment, Reddingites aren’t declaring that they have had enough? State aid is declining, our homes are worth less and our taxes are going up no matter what we do. This NO vote exclaims that this increased budget is adding insult to injury.

Sounds like claims of fake news to me. Without bringing too much Washington politics into our little hamlet, people cry fake news when things don’t go their own way.

Pointing fingers isn’t going to change things. Voters are calling for creative change NOW. Listen to the message instead of placing blame. We spend 73% of the budget for the schools and 27% has to cover everyone and everything else. Solutions that provide a budget that is sustainable for the town is what is needed.

The No voters want ALL of us to be considered. Not just one segment.

As a journalist, I strive to bring correct information to my readers. If I make an error, I correct it promptly. When possible, I vet my information with several resources from various points of view.

At the last Board of Finance special meeting, BoF member Susan Clark said she saw no misinformation. She remembers letters from both sides making their case for their position.

Hello, Redding publishes letters to the editor from all points of view. Take a look at this issue: In it, there are letters to the editor numbering 6 saying vote no, and 8 saying vote yes. Among those letter writers are past and present Board of Finance members, Board of Education members and persuasive arguments from others in the community .

So, where was this misinformation? Was it in the useful article that Selectman Peg O’Donnell wrote with links for residents to look up their own tax bills?

Where else did people get fake news? At the Coffee and Conversation sessions with First Selectman Julia Pemberton where Board of Ed and Board of Finance members were available to answer any question about the budget? Our Finance Director and Police Captain were there too. Maybe Captain O’Donnell could have arrested the fake newsers?

Perhaps it was when when a BoF/RCL member insisted taxes weren’t really going up because of the devaluation of home assessments? That some would only be paying a few dollars more? Maybe not misinformation here, but a spin to divert voters attention from the difference between taxes and a tax bill. If my property is devalued, why would I want to pay the same, or even more?

Yelling “misinformation” is a distraction meant to deflect the real message sent by the vote. That’s the real deception.

Please read all of the information available on the new budget proposal, make your own decision and vote on June 5.

Please remember that this is an editorial, meaning it’s my opinion. Comments? Keep them polite and concise please and send them to susan@hellonewsct.com