Curtis Declines Smith Jail Debate

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KTBB AM 600 ran this story a little earlier this morning:

Battle Lines Drawn on Jail Bond Proposal
Posted: Tuesday, 23rd September 2008 7:44AM

TYLER — Both sides are squaring off in the debate over a new Smith County Jail. “The “Finally! A Jail Plan We Can Afford” Committee supports the $59.6 million November bond proposal. Supporters and opponents of last fall’s failed $125 million plan teamed up on the new one, which the committee’s Bobby Curtis calls an affordable, no-frills package.”

The problem is, that there is no squaring off in the debate, really, no debate at all, as you will see from the rest of the story:

“But the “What Part of No Don’t You Understand” Committee insists that now is not the time to build a jail, citing such concerns as the state of the economy and objections to how the plan was put together. And now they’re challenging the supporters to a debate — which Curtis is so far declining. The opposition group’s Ken Good says a debate would offer citizens a “vigorous discussion” of the topic. But Curtis says the issues are clear, the county’s under a state mandate to upgrade jail facilities, and he doesn’t know what there is to debate.”

Yes, the county is under a mandate, no, it is not necessary to build a new facility to meet that mandate. One has to wonder if the newly formed committee is afraid that this truth would become common knowledge if the debate was brought into the public arena.

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