The controversy over Ann Coulter’s appearance in Modesto and the resulting expenses to the city of Modesto and Stanislaus County have stirred predictable reactions within the community. Those who supported Coulter’s appearance blame left-wing protestors and claim no responsibility for the expenses. Those who disagree believe bringing Coulter was a choice with obvious consequences that were ignored by event producers.
Ultimately, successful cities are built on two pillars: fairness and fiscal responsibility. Expenses that are accrued from security-related issues are decided by discretion. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this approach. Decisions have been made in this way for decades by the city. Discretion, by definition, can be unfair, controversial, and occasionally fiscally irresponsible. As a city grows, becomes more diverse and develops different needs, issues that revolve around discretion become more complicated and often result in unintended consequences.
In this case, the city of Modesto decided to charge the March for Science and the Immigrant March for police services. It did not charge the Republicans for the costs related to Coulter.
Meanwhile it didn’t require any security at all for the Women’s March or the Tax March. And we could talk about XFest, but even I am bored with that.
The city of Modesto should seize the opportunity to make transparent, fair and fiscally sound decisions such situations arise. A new policy should be established to help govern these judgments so the public can have a say. We have wonderful members on our council who represent the whole spectrum of political opinion. Together they make tough decisions on such issues every week.
Let’s give them the chance to make better, more thoughtful and fiscally wise choices by having a clear directive in place to guide their dialogue.
Ultimately, we need to strive to be a city that emphasizes the ability to be inclusive and fair while always keeping an eye on making the best financial decisions. Let’s start thinking of our community as a we. We absolutely can come together and solve these challenges. It’s what this community expects. It’s what everyone deserves.