Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 315
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for November 3, 2005

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Once upon a time, right after a divisive war, a new newspaper was started in Warrensburg. That paper has endured, in various formats, for well over 100 years. For the last six-plus of those years, the paper has regularly published my letters (over 300 to date) on various subjects I felt would be of interest to residents of Warrensburg and Johnson County. It appears that, barring a new owner riding to the rescue, this newspaper will cease publication.

Meanwhile, there are still issues of importance to the people of Warrensburg. On Tuesday, those who live within the city limits will have a chance to vote on a substantial bond issue to improve the sewer system. The bonds will be paid off by increases in sewer rates and the money will be used to upgrade the processing plants and improve the collection system. While I believe that the bond issue should be passed, I do not like seeing another "stealth" election.

It appears that government bodies in general, including city, county and school board, have decided that it's easier to pass a tax or bond if the election is held on a low-turnout date. They seem to believe that the built-in constituencies, if any, and pro-tax voters will turn out and people who oppose taxes in general may not. To suppress the "anti" vote, tax proponents then run a "stealth" campaign - they don't campaign at all, or limit their campaign to talking to civic groups. Without public information, voters have no means to learn the facts about an issue or to evaluate the benefits and shortcomings of the issue.

At least those who will pay will get to vote on the sewer bonds, in contrast to the $6.4 million tax on Wal-Mart shoppers to support the Hawthorne development, ramrodded through without public approval. Tell your legislators that you want them to close the TDD loophole to the Hancock tax increase limits.

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