Think About It…….. July 2, 2014
Last week the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly encouraged by Borough Mayor Mike Navarre decided to throw a voter passed initiative into the trash.
It was back in 2005 that voters faced the initiative which originated by signature petition. It stated that any changes to the Borough Sales Tax be placed on a ballot and passed by 60% of Borough voters. Seemed like a reasonable initiative and gave direct voter control of the sales tax rate in our Borough. It passed handily with over 54% of the vote.
However, Brent Johnson your assemblyman from Kasilof decided that the Assembly should get rid of the voter approved 60% requirement and submitted an Ordinance to do so. His thinking: Why should the Assembly and Mayor be saddled with having to send any sales tax changes to the voters for approval anyway. Just ridiculous! Right? So, Brent Johnson and Mike Navarre argued that the Assembly and Mayor certainly know what is best for our Borough, and why should the voters be required to make a decision like that. Just because they passed the 2005 initiative by over 54% doesn’t really mean anything. They argued that the Assembly needs to change it back to letting “we” on the Assembly, their leaders, have the final say.
Here is the logic of Mayor Navarre: “The original vote passed by 54.2% of the vote, which means that 47.8% voted against it. Now, if something is put on the ballot in order to increase sales tax, it requires 60% of the vote, which means that 40% opposing it would carry the vote. So what we’ve set up is really if 59.9% voted for it, it wouldn’t pass.”
Well, the mayor certainly got that correct. Don’t we all think that’s what the people were saying when they passed the initiative in 2005. We don’t want the Assembly to have the final say on increasing our taxes we want to do it by a vote of we the people.
The Johnson Ordinance to do away with the vote of the people passed on a 5-4 vote. The five Assemblymen who voted to overturn a vote of the people in the Borough were Smalley, Smith, McClure, Haggerty and Johnson. Ironically, that is about a 55% majority.
It is indeed a sad state of affairs but it is not the first time the Assembly has thrown a vote of the people in the trash. Several times since 2001 ballot issues passed by the votes of our Borough have been changed outright by the Assembly and the Mayor. It must be time to vote the liberals out. Smith and Haggerty from the Homer area, and McClure from Seward are certainly out of reach of the majority of Borough voters, but getting rid of Hal Smalley in Kenai and Brent Johnson from Kasilof would be an excellent way to put some common sense back into our “out of control” Borough Assembly.
Think About It! John C. Davis 7-2-14