Leon Gopon/Mike Terson follow-up discussion from 4/23/2014 chat


Thanks fro the reply. I know how things change and people change their mind
about things, so I can see how after some education and forethought you
could change your mind about the referendum. I can see how a referendum
could put the Board in a box depending on what the outcome is vs. what the
Board’s vote is.

I’m sure the referendum issue could be worded in such a manner as to allow
for certain things to have to happen for the referendum vote to be
justified. I’ve been in high-level positions of authority and had to make
tough decisions that were not in accordance with popular thinking. That
didn’t rest easy with me. My feeling is that tough decision-making comes
with the territory. We all have to make tough decisions. I’d rather see
leaders bite the bullet instead of avoiding having to face the issue. But
it seems to be a “politician thing” to tap dance around things.

Also, The reason we have the Golf Course was because of a referendum. I
think if we “bought it” via referendum we should have a referendum to sell
it. I haven’t figured out yet if the the group I’m aligned with is
partisan. I know some of the members are, but I wouldn’t tag the whole
group with that. As time goes by, for various reasons, we are getting more
and more members whom I would not call partisan.

We all have a long way to go on the downtown proposal, and I can see things
changing as more information is brought forward.

—–Original Message—–
From: Mike Terson
Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2014 12:34 PM
To: Leon Gopon
Subject: Re: Thanks

Hi Leon,

As for my 2011 comment… Like I said, at the time I was not knowledgeable
on what the criteria is for going to referendum. Since then I have been
more educated on that, as well as other variables. In the here and now,
2014, I’ll just say that my position has somewhat changed, and I don’t
necessarily support going to referendum. I am not completely opposed to the
concept of a non-binding referendum, but the more I discuss it with others,
the more I see why it is a bad idea.

The reasons I am not in favor of it are:

1. I believe that people elect their trustees to make decisions on behalf of
the community. We don’t poll the community on every issue. While this
would be a larger issue than your typical everyday warrant, ordinance or bid
approval, it is still something that I believe should be left in the hands
of the Board; and, I believe, based on what I have been told by legal minds
more knowledgeable than mine, that it does not meet the criteria for a
binding referendum. Also, I know that my colleagues and I are doing our due
diligence on this issue and are completely capable of making a decision that
is in the best interest of the community. I am not convinced that every
voting resident is doing the same. There is a reason that we have the form
of government that we do; one in which we elect people to make these types
of decisions, rather than polling every resident who is eligible to vote on
every issue. The law sets stipulations on what should and should not be
decided by referendum; I am not in favor of straying from those

2. Even in a non-binding referendum there are concerns. Although the
referendum might be non-binding, there would be public pressure to go with
whatever the outcome would be; and, there could be a negative impact in both
scenarios. Let’s say the vote shows that the community is in favor of a
downtown. What if we as a Board end up deciding that the financials don’t
indicate it is a good project, or we end up not coming to terms with the
developer? We could run the risk of people saying that they voted and said
they want this, so why aren’t we delivering on what the people said they
want. A non-binding referendum could very well put us as a community at a
significant disadvantage with any developer, because it would show that we
are not strong enough leaders to make decisions without first asking the
voters; and, if the voters said yes we want this, that developer would then
know that the community leaders would likely feel pressure to deliver on
what the voters said they want, thus putting that developer at a significant
advantage when it comes to negotiating. If we allow the Village Manager and
Board to do what they were hired and elected to do, we keep the upper hand.
As it sits, this process has moved so slowly, that I highly doubt Mr. Malk
or any developer gets the impression that this community team of Board and
staff are over-anxious to do something or would approve a project that
doesn’t favor the Village. A non-binding referendum could quickly change

Again, thank you for the continued discussion. I sincerely hope that as you
become more knowledgeable on this issue and the variables that go along with
the decision making process, that you will be in favor of us doing things
the right way, and not choose to support decisions that capitulate to a very
partisan group that has made it clear that their supporters will never be in
favor of this project under any circumstances. You have been a member of
this community for a long time, and I would encourage you, as someone who
has been a leader in the community for many years, to look at this project
objectively without prejudging or predetermining your position, and form
your opinions based on facts and what is in the best long term interest of
our community. I am looking at how this will impact future generations of
our community, long after you and I are gone, and I would encourage you to
do the same. That doesn’t always result in being popular with everyone.

Kind regards,

Mike Terson

On Apr 24, 2014, at 3:30 PM, “Leon Gopon” <goponls@earthlink.net> wrote:

Thanks to you, too, for taking the time to talk. I think communicating
solves a lot of issues and keeps issues from occurring. While we do agree
to disagree on several issues I, too, think our commonality lies in dealing
with facts/data how much we both want to make BG the best there is.  I
reread the ‘building a downtown on the BG Golf Course” referendum quote
attributed to you in the PATCH.com article of 3/15/2011. The wording is:
“…..residents say no to the idea through a referendum then it isn’t a good
idea”. What I took away from our conversation on this yesterday is that you
were referring to a non-binding referendum (or a polling of the residents).

As I said yesterday, one of my main goals regarding the group against he
downtown proposal is to have the group deal with true facts not rumors or
made-up little green monsters in the minds of the individuals in the group.
Left to their own devices, I am surprised at some of the made-up stories
people have about the downtown proposal that grow legs and run amok.

I have no problem reaching out to you to talk should the need arise.


—–Original Message—– From: Mike Terson
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:18 AM
To: Leon Gopon
Subject: Thanks

Hi Leon,

I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to meet yesterday and
discuss the issue. While I know we don’t necessarily see eye to eye on many
aspects of the issue, I do appreciate your willingness to discuss things and
the way in which you present your points. I think the fact that we are both
so passionate about our community and want what is best for our neighbors is
the most important thing; and, I think in that regard we probably have more
in common than what our differences are pertaining to a downtown where the
golf course is located.

Thank you again, and please feel free to reach out to me again if there is
anything you’d like to discuss.



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