Lately there has been a bit of a dispute — in our Readers Write (letters to the editor) column — as to a certain “15,000 people” response given by Victor Sirkin at the Idyllwild Water District forum for directorship candidates this past Nov. 10. Sirkin has since been sworn in as a director of IWD.
In the Town Crier story of Dec. 1, Sirkin’s response to the moderator’s question was summarized only — it was not within quotation marks. A reporter covering an event such as the forum is neither a certified court reporter nor a shorthand stenographer. He cannot possibly take down everything people say word-for-word. He can only listen attentively and write as quickly as possible, hoping to capture just the gist of what is said. Of course, some efforts to do so are more successful than others.
Occasionally, we make an audio recording of an event, but that is not so we can transcribe the entire thing word-for-word. A 90-minute recording would likely take a person much of two days to transcribe, and we would not have room in the paper to publish it all, anyway.
However, when we do have an audio recording, we can examine it later to resolve a particular controversy, such as Sirkin’s “15,000 people” response.
So here, in its entirety, is Sirkin’s response, word for word. It is not precisely as we reported it on Dec. 1, but, as stated above, his response was not in quotes because we cannot possibly achieve an exact transcription of everything said at meetings and forums. But on the recording, every word of Sirkin’s response is clear; there are no ambiguities. Anyone is free to contact me to hear this recording for themselves, if they wish.
[At 42:34 on the recording] Moderator Shannon Ng: “Straight up. Are you for no growth?”
[At 44:55 on the recording, after the responses of the other three candidates] Vic Sirkin: “I guess my answer is certainly — um — a compilation of everybody else’s answer. No. I don’t want to see 15,000 people move to Idyllwild in the next few years. We wouldn’t have the resources to handle it. But that’s just my opinion. Our board, our water board, isn’t — um — isn’t placed as a special water district to dictate economic growth. It’s to sell water if we have it. So, if we have it, then we can — then we certainly can accommodate additional growth. People who are leaving Florida or Ohio because of circumstances out of their control, whether it’s earthquakes or hurricanes, they need to relocate somewhere. So, if a few came here, that’s fine with me. I just think it’s an opinion. It’s not really the job of the district to determine that, other than what we can supply for water.”
We at the Town Crier hope this resolves any controversy in this matter.
Jack Clark, co-publisher & general counsel