"But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better." George Orwell (Eric Blair) Image by jovike via FlickrSince the current Minto-Brown Park Master Plan --- the one that the Salem City Council adopted in 1995 after lengthy public involvement and participation -- expressly states that agriculture within the park is appropriate and should be continued, let's see what that word means:
con·tin·ue (kn-tny)v. con·tin·ued, con·tin·u·ing, con·tin·uesv.intr.1. To go on with a particular action or in a particular condition; persist.2. To exist over a prolonged period; last.3. To remain in the same state, capacity, or place: She continued as mayor for a second term.4. To go on after an interruption; resume: The negotiations continued after a break for lunch.v.tr.1. To carry forward; persist in: The police will continue their investigation.2. To carry further in time, space, or development; extend.3. To cause to remain or last; retain.4. To carry on after an interruption; resume.5. Law To postpone or adjourn.
re·duce (r-ds, -dys)v. re·duced, re·duc·ing, re·duc·esv.tr.1. To bring down, as in extent, amount, or degree; diminish. See Synonyms at decrease.2. To bring to a humbler, weaker, difficult, or forced state or condition; especially:a. To gain control of; conquer: "a design to reduce them under absolute despotism" (Declaration of Independence).b. To subject to destruction: Enemy bombers reduced the city to rubble.c. To weaken bodily: was reduced almost to emaciation.d. To sap the spirit or mental energy of.e. To compel to desperate acts: The Depression reduced many to begging on street corners.f. To lower in rank or grade. See Synonyms at demote.g. To powder or pulverize.h. To thin (paint) with a solvent.3. To lower the price of: The store has drastically reduced winter coats.4. To put in order or arrange systematically.5. To separate into orderly components by analysis.6. Chemistrya. To decrease the valence of (an atom) by adding electrons.b. To remove oxygen from (a compound).c. To add hydrogen to (a compound).d. To change to a metallic state by removing nonmetallic constituents; smelt.7. Mathematics To simplify the form of (an expression, such as a fraction) without changing the value.8. Medicine To restore (a fractured or displaced body part) to a normal condition or position.v.intr.1. To become diminished.2. To lose weight, as by dieting.3. Biology To undergo meiosis.
Thus, when people try to argue that it's ok to prohibit growing food on four-fifths of the land now being farmed in the park because ag wouldn't be barred from 100% of the cropland, they are trying to twist the meaning of the words, which is generally a dead giveaway to something not being kosher.
There are some good arguments for the easement deal, and more good arguments against it. One of the most compelling arguments against this deal at this time is that it completely guts the park Master Plan, which is essentially the guidance we the people of Salem gave to city government for how to care for our treasured possession, Minto-Brown Island Park. If the City Council ignores the plain, clear language of the master plan, they are essentially saying that no one can rely on any of the planning documents that the city prepares, even the ones specifically adopted by the council.
Ask yourself -- if the shoe were on the other foot and the city staff were alarmed by some proposed action of the state or federal government, would the city say "Hey, no need to follow any plans developed with our participation ... go ahead and do what you think is best."