2018-04-19 / Editorial

Joint vote stifles people’s voices

ANOTHER VIEW
BY ALMA DAVENPORT

I was shocked and dismayed to learn the town council has voted to group the three bond referendums into a single question, depriving the citizens of Jamestown the ability to express their opinions about three separate issues: the schools, the library and the golf course clubhouse.

The council voted separately to approve these bond issues. Jamestowners should have the opportunity to do so as well.

While Councilman Gene Mihaly described “thick booklets” of referendums when voting in California, in Jamestown we only have three issues, all of which have been exhaustively reported by The Jamestown Press. I do not think that “three bond issues can be very confusing,” per Mr. Mihaly.

Council President Kristine Trocki reminded people at the meeting when it was voted to combine the bond issues that “we have spent countless hours in meetings.” She is absolutely right, but it is what she signed up for when she ran for office.

Now, after lumping these three bond issues into one, she promises “a tremendous amount of time will be spent educating voters on the referendum.” We already are educated (thanks to The Jamestown Press and those of us who spent hours in council meetings).

Between the remarks by Mr. Mihaly and Ms. Trocki, it would seem as if we are a confederacy of dunces.

We are not.

This single referendum will be presented to the voters during the November gubernatorial election. The Jamestown Press noted that at the 2014 elections, nearly 3,000 Jamestowners voted, but only 145 registered at the financial town meeting that year. Does this mean we do not care about our town? Or does it mean the polls were open for 12 hours during the state election, allowing those who work, have families or other responsibilities to exercise their right to vote?

Unfortunately, we do not yet have the ability to vote during a day set aside annually for our voices to be heard concerning our budget. Nor, now, do we have the right to exercise our opinions on three separate and simple bond issues.

Ms. Mary Meagher was correct when she said “interest rates won’t get cheaper” in the future. However, one-quarter of a percent won’t break our bank either, if we choose to take a stand against being railroaded into the “infrastructure bond.”

Me? I’m ready to lay down on the tracks.

Alma Davenport is a Clinton Avenue resident

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