As the mayor, one of the commitments I made to our residents was to present accurate information so they were informed on city matters.
The purpose for sending forward the communication below is to correct inaccurate information that was presented in a survey sent electronically to a number of our residents by Save Fair Oaks Ranch (SFOR). City staff has reviewed my comments for accuracy.
There are a couple of background facts that the readers of this communication need to know to properly put this response in context. First, it is common knowledge that Councilman Hartpence and I were founders of SFOR about six years ago and we both continued association with the group after election to office. This is a very informal group of residents who have a common interest in managing growth responsibly and protecting our quality of life. Many residents have played roles in this group over the past six years. I believe that the group has accomplished much in improving the governance of our city.
The second fact you need to know is that my wife and I withdrew from this group along with a majority of the more active folks in SFOR about three months ago. The survey that you received was proposed by Councilman Hartpence about six months ago. A number of us raised objections to inaccuracies, misstatements of fact, and misleading and biased presentation of material. The publication of the survey was deferred at that time, but it has now been presented to the community essentially in the form to which we raised objections. Our decisions to leave the group were ethical choices we made to not remain associated with a group that, in our opinion, has strayed away from the fact-based and even-handed manner of communicating in which we prided ourselves for many years.
Any elected official has a constitutionally protected right of free speech just like any other citizen. Councilman Hartpence has the right to express dissenting opinions with his fellow council members. He even has the right to vote affirmatively with the rest of the council on policy issues and, subsequently, change his mind and speak against them. That is what he has been doing on issues such as the adoption of the updated Comprehensive Plan and its Water, Wastewater, and Reuse Master Plan components. This is what he continues to do relative to leveraging the city’s utilities to achieve desired growth patterns. He is supportive of this effort while performing his council member duties but immediately changes course when advocating as a citizen.
My concern is that our residents receive information about the city that is factual and accurate. A survey that is presented in a biased manner and which misrepresents facts and, in some cases, omits important facts, does not meet the tests for being factual and accurate. It is in that spirit of fact-based and even-handed communication that the city is forwarding this response to the survey for your consideration.
Please click here to read my response in full regarding the SFOR Survey