Whether one supports or opposes the jail levy, we should all uphold the values of free speech and truth. That’s why I was disappointed that the IR chose to print an unsigned Your Turn piece on Thursday, Nov. 2.
The piece was “signed” Helena Chapter DSA, the Democratic Socialists of America. Really? In my second decade as an IR subscriber, I can’t remember an outside group letter that was unsigned. Understandably, editorial staff pieces are unsigned, but the identities of the publisher and editor are already known. Usually, if a letter is penned by a group, organization, church, company, board, or political party: someone signs it. Our right to free speech is not a right to anonymous speech! I look to the IR as my community news source. I look to the IR for news that is verified and verifiable. IR, you have failed me.
Not only was the Your Turn piece unsigned, it also contained at least one misleading un-fact. They state “4 million dollars, which works out to $80,000 per inmate per year for 15 years.” This is a misrepresentation of facts provided by Lewis and Clark County. The current jail was designed for 54 inmates – so that should be used as the baseline. The DSA uses the current overpopulation numbers of 100-plus as their baseline.
Also, the DSA uses the $4 million annual operating budget amount as if that’s the whole picture, instead of revealing that a quarter million a year is expected in savings for not having to house inmates in other locations.
I call on the IR to include names of actual people on its letters. Many of our neighbors take controversial stances, but do so in full view.