by Laurence Gibson

We, as a world, are at all kinds of turning points these days. Scientists actually made the national news this weekend saying that it is now almost too late to save Planet Earth. Nationally, we have really important mid-term elections coming up, elections that will determine what happens to our “republic…if you can keep it” in the words of Ben Franklin.

Locally, we also have very important choices: Four districts of City Council are on the ballot. Check the candidates’ web-pages to see their platforms. Visit the League of Women Voters site, VOTE 411. Watch the KCOS debates and the various candidate forums.

City Council’s recent creation of Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ) is something new on the development front. Our view is that the TIRZ is a clever device to get citizens to pay developers to build houses on their own open spaces…which won’t be so open anymore, and wouldn’t otherwise be profitable for development, sort of a “pay for your own sprawl” scheme. City Council has now approved four of these, something voters may wish to consider. Also, the Bonarts (549-5585 and 549-8483) have a “Kill the TIRZ” petition that they must submit soon. The hotly contested Lost Dog Trail/TIRZ12 petition was recently accepted by council, and then put on hold for two years. This highly successful petition to put TIRZ12 on the ballot was not approved in time for this November’s election. Watch for it on the next ballot, in May.

Folks have been confused about Council’s needing multiple petitions for the same issue. (“I signed once, why do I have to sign again?”) Well, it seems that City Council can “deny” a petition to put an issue on the election ballot. If that happens, a second successful petition is required to overcome that opposition and force it to happen.
And, by the way, if you receive an absentee ballot, be sure to find the City Council races on the last page and be aware that a straight-ticket vote is not a City Council vote. If you should toss out your absentee ballot, (there are reports out there of unsolicited absentee ballots) you cannot vote at the polls November 6.

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