Stop sniping, focus on issues with Hotel Clovis

Freedom New Mexico

Much has been written and said about plans for renovating Hotel Clovis. Some of what’s been written and said has even been true.

We’d like to see the next few weeks of debate focus on substance, not political rhetoric.

Voters will decide Aug. 2 whether Clovis will implement the Affordable Housing Plan city commissioners approved last month. If approved, taxpayers would provide up to $1.4 million in loans and grants that — coupled with $11.4 million the developer says he will get from private investors, mostly via tax credits — will result in 59 apartments and 8,000 square feet of commercial space inside the historic building that has dominated Clovis’ downtown since 1931.

The election will be the second in three months forced by a citizens group — High Plains Patriots — which is unhappy with city commissioners’ decisions.

Most recently, voters approved a sales tax increase city officials plan to use for the Ute Water Pipeline Project they hope will one day provide water from Ute Lake in Quay County.

Debate on both issues has been heated and emotional and, frankly, we’re embarrassed at the childish actions both sides have used to drum up support.

The name-calling, exaggerations of fact and bald-faced lies have damaged credibility for both government officials and those who say they represent limited government.

Know this: The Aug. 2 election is no more about “affordable housing” than the last election was about “water.”

The issue is how we pay for these kinds of community essentials we all recognize are important.

You don’t have to be a “Patriot” to build a stronger Clovis. And, please, stop with the “HUD” signs and references — they reek of class discrimination.

The questions we should be talking about include:

• Do you want taxpayer funds involved in rebuilding Hotel Clovis and other housing construction? If so, how much?

• Should taxpayers pay for the demolition of the building instead? That would cost about $2.5 million before the ground is clear, but at least the issue will be decided once and for all and might attract a private developer who doesn’t need our tax dollars.

• Does this Affordable Housing Plan invite opportunity for government to play favorites among private builders?

We understand most debates branch beyond “right” and “wrong;” the issues here, too, are far more complex. But no one benefits from the mudslinging we’ve seen in this community these past few months.

So may we start again? This time with our eyes on the issues and not trying to gain support with divisive catch phrases and hateful sniping?

We’re better than that.