Larry W. Smith

I knew it was a risk when I posted the other day  about "Why a public vote wasn't fair to the Plaza process."  I just knew some people would interpret the piece as me saying voters were too stupid to vote.  And some have indeed reached that conclusion.  NOTHING could be farther from the truth.

One more time.  The Plaza is a complex economic development tool.  It isn't a park.  The city isn't asking you to vote on parks or parking or walking or voter rights or any of the other issues that get routinely brought up.  The concept is -- Should we move ahead with a programmable space with regularly scheduled activities drawing crowds significantly large enough to entice business to invest in the surrounding area.  There are a lot of factors involved and no money back guarantees. It needs to be done right.

Had I not served on council during the initial planning phases, I doubt I would feel comfortably informed enough to cast a vote on such a significant issue.  Us regular folks aren't prepared for that and few of us will go the extra mile to get there.  Not that we are too stupid but that we are too out of the loop on the details to make an informed, potentially community changing vote.  Its too important to the city's future to vote on the prospect of 70-milion in private investment based emotion or on anecdotal experiences about "that one time when I went downtown..."  Those experiences are valid -  but they are not what a city looking to change its future should base its ultimate decisions upon.

It is a big job that belongs in the hands of the people with the big picture view and the most information necessary to make the best measured and responsible vote for the future.

I don't want you not to vote  because I think you are stupid --but because I hope you are smart enough to know that something of this magnitude deserves the full scrutiny of someone elected to spend the time, do the research, read the plans, study the history and best weigh the chances for success or failure.  Win or Lose .