Letter: Beware self serving spin-and-divide tax tactics

Posted

To the editor:

In response to the Jeff Caron/Nancy Driggs letter in the May 11 edition of the paper, I feel compelled to write. Full disclosure: Yes, I am also a candidate for the Charter Review Commission. But I write not in an attempt to promote my own candidacy, but to ask the community at large to take fact finding and decision making into their own hands.

Unfortunately, we live in a headline-driven world where our shortened attention spans are taken advantage of by sensational claims and call-outs, with our critical thinking all but crippled. We tend not to dive any deeper than the surface to learn more about Topic X or Issue Y, or to feed our intellect and enable ourselves to think independently and draw our own conclusions about a statement, problem, or opportunity. Selective quoting of this, that or the other thing tries to connect dots and draw correlations that may or may not be there. Yet, because so many can’t or won’t take the time or effort to dig beneath and beyond the headlines, agendas are empowered and advanced often without the slightest bit of challenge by those for whom they impact the most.

This could be one of the most unfortunate by-products of our highly connected, always-“on” society. Yet, it is a reality that many in power or with less-than-altruistic agendas leverage as a strategy to garner support and acceptance by the masses – whether having to do with politics, marketing, or any number of facets of our daily lives.  Spin and repeat – over and and over again. Create divisions amongst the people to misguide and misdirect. These strategies work, which is why they are used at all levels of society – from the global, to the national, to the local.

Matters of community are critical to all of us, especially those that have the potential to hit so close to home, such as taxes. Yet, we should all give pause when a select few continue in our community start wielding these “threats” and “warnings”, and attempt to connect dots that just are not there to be connected. The letter from Mr. Caron and Ms. Driggs is an example of this. One should question the true motives behind these claims: Do they aim to serve the greater good of the community and all who call it home, or are they self-serving at the end of the day?

Beware the claims of Tax Armageddon at every turn. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by headlines, fear mongering, and divisive tactics. Please, please, please do your homework. Get involved. Ask questions. Think for yourself and draw your own conclusions based on independent and supported facts. The upcoming process of revisiting and potentially revising our town’s charter is a great opportunity to do this, and I encourage all to lend your voice and ideas when the time comes.

Bill Gerlach

Tiverton

The author is a candidate for the Tiverton Charter Review Commission.

Comments

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joe sousa

"Unfortunately, we live in a headline-driven world where our shortened attention spans are taken advantage of by sensational claims and call-outs, with our critical thinking all but crippled"

No we use institutional knowledge and good sense to to explain whats wrong with this town. It was people like you who ran the coast up with extravagant contracts while letting our roads and buildings fall apart. Your idea of making the Town Council responsible for the town budget is asinine. The FTR is working fine and the people chose it two to one at the polls.

You wont get my vote!

Tuesday, May 16 | Report this
Bill Gerlach

Joe,

My commentary aims to draw attention to the problem -- as I see it -- at all levels of our day-to-day lives, not just the hyper-local, but much broader than that as well. It is a well-studied problem that impacts all levels of society and our modern existence.

As far as your claims against me: I have at no point advocated for -- let alone made a public statement in any shape or form in support of -- the elimination of the FTR or that the Town Council should have sole budget authority. Please (please!) refresh my memory and provide the readers with proof of your claim if you have it.

My time on the Town Council (2012-2014) was two years I devoted countless hours to this town bringing a fair and balanced approach to the issues and matters at that time. I stand by my public record and would not change a thing. As you know first-hand, it is a difficult and complicated job to run our town in an effective and efficient manner. Ultimately, I chose family over town and decided not to run again.

How you vote is ultimately your choice. No harm, no foul. I'd still sit down and talk face-to-face and figure out how to meet in the middle on important issues.

Thursday, May 18 | Report this

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