EDITOR’S DESK: Beware the jabberwock
In meetings I've attended recently regarding politically sensitive subjects, I've heard the term “perception and reality”
used more than once.
The idea, as I understand it, is that even if something really is a certain way, it doesn't make any difference if the public perceives it to be another way. Readers of Lewis Carroll will recognize such contorted logic.
But logic it still is. And, since the media is part of the stimuli that citizens use to form their perceptions, I feel a certain responsibility in that regard. Take the recent COSMIX furor, for example. A larger member of the local media decided to find out how much it cost the state to develop the COSMIX name and logo. Predictably, when the amount was published ($21,000), it spurred waves of public derision - even though that cost is scarcely a drop in the bucket in the $150 million I-25 widening project (and even though said media organ now uses the COSMIX name as a regular identifier).
Then there's the Rural Transportation Authority (RTA). The public was promised concrete and pavement, right? So here comes City Public Works Director Ron Mitchell recently with a plan to do that work and save money. Unfortunately, his savings plan included the construction of an unadvertised office/storage facility. The perception? Administrative perks, not concrete and pavement. One City Council member actually told Mitchell (in so many words) that it would be better not to save if that's what it took for the RTA to maintain its squeaky-clean image. Or how about the Cimarron bridge? Engineers say it's fine for another 10 years since being repaired. But politicians had promised voters a new bridge in the RTA election. So the chances are it will get moved up on the RTA list. I understand all this completely. Don't you? I'd also swear I just caught sight of the jub-jub bird.