Sun, May 26

Letter: Everyone in Jerome needs to invest in honest self reflection about why they oppose Sliding Jail plan


Reguarding Jerome’s Sliding Jail controversy, I just wanted to make it clear to your readers that the issue surrounding the jail and the parking lot does not include any action in regards to the Basketball or Volleyball Courts.

Those two items were previously discussed in a meeting between the Town and JHS and were taken off of the table. And yet they were brought up several times as an issue of contention during the recent TC meeting.

The sole purpose of the JHS wanting control of the parcels (without the Basket Ball and Volleyball courts) are so we can rehabilitate them to where the jail and the parking lot can be used and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

Our stand is that the JHS, unencumbered by the same restrictions the town would face, can complete this restoration faster and definitely cheaper. Then, per a legally binding contract, allow the town to purchase the said parcels back at only what it cost the JHS to rehab and maintain.

These costs will be provided to the town as the project goes along an d can be audited at anytime. This cost will not be inflated with any profit whatsoever for the JHS nor will any interest be added should the town not wish to purchase the land immediately upon completion.

The agreement is open ended to allow the town to complete the transaction at any time in the future. And contrary to what was stated at the meeting, contracts are written that are binding upon current as well as future Town Councils and JHS Boards.

Therefore the Sliding Jail and the Parking Lot will be put back into usable condition (a task the town has failed to address until the JHS involvement) fast, cheaper, and with an open ended option for the town to purchase back at cost whenever they decide to exercise that option.

I don’t know how much clearer this can be nor how anyone can see this as other than a win/win for the town of Jerome. Except of course for the hot rhetoric of our soon to be former Vice Mayor and his grandstanding speech of “land grabs.”

Or the misinformation spread about town on the subject of “privatization of town parks.” In pondering the resistance to what we at the JHS have proposed I could only come up with three plausible, although irrational reasons:

  1. The involvement of the JHS. There seems to be a strong animosity towards the JHS for whatever reason. Even when it’s evident that the town will benefit our involvement immediately gets everyone’s hackles up. Perhaps a little honesty on why that is would go along way in reconciling some of the residents with the JHS and we could move forward together.
  2. Some folks may just not want the Jail and Parking Lot restored. We like to tax the heck out of tourists but some people still don’t want them around and having an attraction like the Sliding Jail and additional parking just give tourists more reason to come.
  3. Wannabe “activists.” There’s a few in town who always seem to be looking for a cause. And now that the Governor has taken the Vacation Rental issue away from them maybe they think this one is a good substitute. But it’s not. It just hurts the town.

Can anyone honestly say that the town would even be discussing this without the proposed action of the JHS?

I’m not saying that everyone opposed falls within one of these three categories but I am willing to bet that there are some that may even fall into all three of them.

I challenge everyone to invest in some honest self reflection and be honest about why they oppose this proposal rather than allowing old animosity and mistrust to stop needed things from be accomplished in the town.

Steve Pontious Jerome