On August 21st I attended one of the outreach sessions sponsored by the CED. One of the Yorktown town councilors was present for several hours, although he never visited our HTR table to talk nor did he solicit any of our literature. After several hours of seeing him talk with visitors and CED representatives, I approached him to have a conversation. I asked if his town council had taken a position on the proposed reservoir. He replied that it had not, but then offered that “personally, at this juncture, I’m in support of it”. I then asked him if he had had the opportunity to visit the HTR website and read about our concerns and objections in the case statement and related materials. He replied that he had not.
This exchange made me wonder about the mindset of local officials, or at least some local officials, who seem to be provisionally “for” a reservoir based upon a limited understanding of the full range of issues, and the reasons that a reservoir might be a bad idea.
One explanation for the apparent lack of curiosity and interest in examining both sides might be that support is simply the easier position based upon the slick public sales job by the CED if not also the political considerations. Or perhaps they actually believe that they have considered and weighed all the evidence. It’s impossible to know what is in their minds.
All local elected officials, upon taking office, are sworn to an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Indiana. They are public officials doing the public’s work. Yet the public’s work, especially on an issue this huge, warrants a dutiful, thorough, and objective consideration of all the public interest facets. At least that is how it should work.
A related question: Will officials be able to resist the allure of power as prospective Mounds lake commissioners? Each jurisdiction would appoint two representatives. Might some of these local officials be candidates for appointment to a Mounds Lake Commission, and might these appointments might be viewed by them as positions of power and influence in their communities and/or as a political stepping stone? I wonder if some of these officials are looking at it in this way. If a commission is created, the commissioners will have significant power and control over what happens in their communities. We hope that a desire for power and influence is not a factor in their thinking or their favorable preliminary inclinations to the reservoir plan..