Opinion » Letters

Citizens initiatives do the work government should already be doing

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For a variety of reasons, distrust in government is now at an all-time high. By acting in ways contrary to our own general plan, previous Morro Bay City Councils alienated voters and eroded trust at the local level. In her Oct. 26 letter criticizing the citizens initiative process, former City Councilmember Marlys McPherson provided an unflattering glimpse into how she views the people for whom she once worked, confirming the rationale for that distrust ("Direct democracy is not in citizens' best interest").

Claiming that Morro Bay citizens are uninterested and unable to understand complicated issues is as demeaning as it is false. She insinuates that proponents and signers of the citizens initiative, created to prevent industrialization of our waterfront, were uninformed and potentially unwitting victims of "special interest groups" working against residents' best interests. But here's the truth: Vistra and Big Energy are the actual special interest groups, spreading money around like fertilizer to influence local leaders with campaign donations, hosting chamber of commerce and community events, and providing experts to educate us all on the correct way to think about the project at hand.

On the other hand, Citizens for Estero Bay Preservation is a grassroots group, composed of Morro Bay residents, that raised money from local people to fund a bare-bones effort, which succeeded simply because the large majority of Morro Bay voters do not want our waterfront to be industrialized. And yes, due to laws that favor corporate interests over that of local citizens, the state of California, along with their corporate partners, can bulldoze their way in and run roughshod over the will of the people, but the optics of that will be ugly at best. It is my hope, however, that our clarity of intention, strength of numbers, proactive action and ongoing fortitude will dissuade such egregious government overreach. This restraint will then result in greater trust, thus reducing the need for future citizens initiatives.

Nicole Dorfman

Morro Bay

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