It’s been a pretty good couple of weeks for decisions by and about Evergreen’s primary governmental entities. The ill-advised attempt to recall the board of directors of the Evergreen Fire Protection District was snuffed out by a landslide vote, and the Evergreen Park and Recreation District board kept the faith with the American Legion and other supporters of the Buchanan Park veterans memorial by approving a statue to complete the memorial.
Recall proponents failed to garner even 20 percent of the vote in the election. In perhaps the most extreme example of “the glass is half full” or “making lemons into lemonade” I’ve ever seen, recall challenger Barry Pier told the Courier: “I think we did very well, in spite of the things we had against us. I think we had a strong showing.”
Think again, Barry. In American politics, anything over 53 or 54 percent is considered very decisive, and anything over 60 percent is a landslide. To subject this community to a recall and then to receive just one vote for every six cast is not a strong showing; it is a complete repudiation of everything recall proponents said and did. Having said that, the EFPD board would be well advised to take advantage of both the interest level and the vote of confidence the recall created to develop and implement ongoing plans to engage this community more fully in the district’s plans and activities.
Despite creating more controversy than was necessary, the parks board made the right decision in voting to approve a statue of a soldier holding a rifle to complete the veterans memorial in Buchanan Park. The memorial was approved as part of the park planning process and was subject to a community open house in 2010 before the final concept was approved.
While there is language in the Buchanan Park master plan that prohibits war icons, it is only common sense that if there is to be a veterans memorial that a soldier be allowed to be depicted with a weapon. We won our independence and protected our nation over the years because brave soldiers fought for us using weapons. But more than that, the American Legion, with EPRD’s blessing, spent countless hours planning and implementing the vision for this memorial. They engaged the community and raised the money to make the memorial a reality.
The parks board made the proper judgment in ratifying the American Legion’s vision on the memorial’s ultimate design.
Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie, and three daughters.