What is it that the people hate most in the government and in the electoral process? OK! Yes, the list is long. But, in my view it is the outright lies and deception that are used by the elected to get their wishes. How can the people vote wisely in any election when they are fed bogus information on which to base their vote, or they are encouraged to not vote at all?
How do we know that we are being duped into not voting or voting for a proposal we should be voting against?
1. The first red flag is that government has called a special election to get their issue passed. It is no accident that governments call for a special election when most of the people don’t even know there is an election. Special elections bring to the poll those that are likely to benefit directly or indirectly while others stay home and don’t vote. The result? The proposal is passed! My view is that if an issue cannot be passed in a general election then the issue should be rejected by the people.
2. Do you remember that four or five years ago Drew Central School asked for a millage increase and finally got it passed after having two special elections back to back,(six months apart) while telling everyone the funds were to be used to repair leaking roofs. In reality they wanted to fund a football program. And, don’t forget in that second special election, school children over eighteen years old were registered at the school and were asked to vote for the proposal during school hours. Therefore, do not expect proponents to be ethical in their quest to get their issue passed. The Drew Central case was blatantly wrong from anyone’s perspective. However, it went unchallenged.
3. In the case of taxes another red flag is that the proposed tax is a temporary tax. No tax is going to be temporary. Do you really believe that after you build a big building the cost of maintaining and staffing that building is going to be free? Not on your life! And, after the building is built, governments have you over a barrel. Then, they will tell you that you cannot just abandon the building . You must keep it functioning for “the people” or for “the children”. Therefore, deception is almost always the rule.
4. Another red flag is an issue being proposed in which one segment of society is voting on an issue that does not affect them but does affect the other guy. One example is the recruitment of school aged children to vote on a property tax. Another might be the approval of a motel room tax when no local is going to stay in that motel. Another might be allowing only the citizens of Monticello to decide if all citizens are going to pay for the UAM building.
5. What is the definition of this UAM Events Center? Is it really a Community Center, UAM Fine Arts Auditorium, or UAM Events Center. How often do we use the existing UAM Fine Arts Auditorium? We have a big nice college library and yet we voted to build another one in Monticello. Who is going to use this big multi-million dollar UAM building? No! No! You are not going to use it if you don’t attend a once-a-year concert. What will it cost you to use that big building once a year. Try the cost of your tax increase plus the concert ticket at the door. How about the maintenance costs? Not free, you know! Why is it that only the city folks vote on the UAM events center and the country folks cannot? We all pay taxes at the same grocery store. Why don’t we all vote on this issue in the general election? Do you reckon our elected think city folks will vote for a big events center while the country folks might not? This will be a very expensive building located on the UAM college campus approved in a special election and paid for by all the people of Drew County.
My conclusion is that the proponents of the concert building could not get their building approved by the state legislature so the next best bet is to call a special election and limit the voting to Monticello residents only. I believe this is how politicians get unpopular things approved in Congress. I must admit that if all the workers at the hospital and all the workers at the college go to the polls, while others stay home, then the tax will pass. But, because I am against the blatant deception in special elections, generally against most tax increases, and I am against building this albatross at the college, I must cast a protest vote against the Hospital tax. I hope others will do the same. I can only ask that the citizens of Monticello spend my tax dollars wisely and on something all the people of Drew County might use.
My message to the residents of Drew County is that if you continue to let your locally elected get away with holding special elections for tax increases your financial back will soon be broken.