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Voters reject ballot propositions

Posted: October 4, 2011 - 9:40pm  |  Updated: October 5, 2011 - 6:17pm

Voters came out against taxes and government Tuesday.

Throughout the Kenai Peninsula Borough, voters rejected propositions to repeal a seasonal sales tax exemption, add a tax to support economic development and increase the size of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and Board of Education.

Nikiski resident Eunice Witalec said no to all the propositions.

“We have enough government and we don’t need more,” Witalec said. 
Proposition one, which would have repealed the seasonal sales tax exemption on non-prepared food items, was voted down 5,740 votes to 2,524, according to Tuesday night’s unofficial results. Those results don’t include absentee ballots.

That means the Sept. 1 to May 31 exemption will stand.

Don Bridges, who voted Tuesday evening at the Challenger Center of Alaska in Kenai, said he likes voting because he loves Kenai.

“I think voting here is important to keep the city alive,” he said.

Bridges said he wanted to vote his belief that food taxes aren’t good for residents. They increase the cost of living, he said.

Jonathon Baldwin said he mainly wanted to vote for Debbie Brown. But he also weighed in on the propositions, voting for taxes “so that city can continue providing services.”

Laurie Booyse had a similar thought on the first proposition.

“I think that personally, originally it was a mistake to lower sales tax,”

Booyse said after voting in Soldotna.

If people need to pay some taxes to get the borough’s finances straightened out, she’s willing to do it, she said.

“We all need to take fiscal responsibility for living here,” Booyse said.

Brad Nyquist, a Kenai voter, said he didn’t want to repeal the grocery exemption. Food is a neccessity, he said.

“I like the nine-month exemption on food,” Nyquist said.

Ken Schaefer said he doesn’t particularly like sales tax, but he also doesn’t like loopholes that allow some people to get out of paying a tax while others carry the financial burden.

“So I voted that the exemption should be overthrown and there shouldn’t be an exemption to the sales tax,” Schaefer said after voting in Soldotna.

Proposition two, an effort to increase the borough sales tax by 0.1 percent, was voted down 6,763 votes to 1,520. The additional tax was meant to support economic development.

Sterling resident Bob Shassetz said he supported the proposition.

“I think we need something to get a stimulus of our economy here,” Shasstez said.

Nikiski resident Rhonda White agreed.

“I think it is good that they are trying to develop the area and make it prettier and bring in new businesses and stuff,” she said. “I was for that. I think it is worth the .1 percent.”

Deanne Pearson, who voted in Soldotna, said proposition two was one of the things she wanted to vote against.

“I want taxes to stay the same, I’m a single parent with not much money coming in,” Pearson said. “It was more of the ones I didn’t want — so made sure I voted against them.”

Kristine Dohse, a Nikiski resident, shared Pearson’s perspective.

“For those of us who live here year-round, we definitely could use the extra help ...,” Dohse said. “I just like the idea of getting the break, especially to feed families. I’m a stay-at-home mom so we are living on one income.”

Voters also opted to keep the size of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and Board of Education at nine members, rather than increasing it to 11. Votes for the 9-member boards totaled 5,865, while 2,017 voters favored the increase.

Rocky Waterbury said he voted for the increase.

“I’d like to see it extended out to the 11, it gives them a few more people in there,” Waterbury said after voting in Soldotna Tuesday night.

Tammy Davis explained that she’d rather the borough not increase the cost by adding additional members.

“I voted to keep the nine districts rather than grow, I think that cost can be used towards other services,” Davis said.

Tuesday night’s results, which didn’t include absentee ballots, put voter turnout at about 20 percent. Those who went to the polls felt strongly about their choice to do so.

Mike Gustkey, a teacher at Soldotna Middle School who voted at the Challenger Center, said he did a voting units with his students. They filled out voter registration forms and got voter cards. All of the candidates for borough mayor, and some borough assembly candidates, came and talked to the students. Tuesday, the youth cast mock ballots.

So Gustkey felt obligated to cast his own ballot.

“Plus I’m the guy who writes letters to the editor telling folks they’re punks for not voting,” Gustkey said.

Karen Pulley, a Soldotna voter, agreed.

“I just think it’s your right to vote and if you don’t vote you can’t complain, so I think everyone should vote and have your voice heard,” Pulley said.

Kurtz Frizzell said he’s a regular at the Peninsula polling places, regardless of the issues on the ballot.

“I vote every election,” Frizzell said after voting in Kenai. “It’s just kind of a family tradition. I was brought up to vote, and I think it’s important.”

Hannah Heath, a 22-year-old who grew up on the central Peninsula, had a similar view. She said she was excited to start voting when she turned 18, and hasn’t lost that enthusiasm.

“In a town this small, my vote does count,” Heath said.

Terri Pate voted in Soldotna Tuesday night, and said she always votes when given the chance. Local elections are just as important, she said.

“We have more power on a smaller level, we have more control on what we have, we have more say-so here, as opposed to something on a state or national level,” Pate said. “I think it’s more important we vote in these areas because it starts here.”

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cheapersmokes
1259
Points
cheapersmokes 10/05/11 - 06:18 am
0
0
Glad to see the results!

I must admit I am happy to see the results of the recent elections on the borough. I was nice to see Fred advance to the runoff election but you all must work harder now to kick out the career politician once and for all. Also was nice to see all of the propositions lose out. It is time for government to do like everyone else and that is to live according to their income!

But with a turnoff of only 20% you all should be ashamed of yourselves. Did you ever stop and think about how many Americans gave up their lives to preserve your chance to vote in a free and fair election and you can't even take a few minutes out of your day to go and cast a ballot to decide on how your future will be represented! You might be a very nice person and a good citizen but your also breathing the air that could be put to a better use so hold your breath to the next election when we see you at the polling places in your urn or coffin.

justamom
12
Points
justamom 10/05/11 - 08:09 am
0
0
I agree

For once I agree with cheapersmokes. For all of you out there who didn't vote, please keep your opinions to yourself. You had the power to change things and decided to stay home instead. I think only those who vote have the right to complain about politics and those in office.

jtpate
8
Points
jtpate 10/05/11 - 08:12 am
0
0
Ummm...

Terri Pate would be a she! LOL!! Otherwise, nice reporting Peninsula Clarion! ;)

Diane Fielden
0
Points
Diane Fielden 10/05/11 - 10:31 am
0
0
Voting turnout disapointing

I am shocked and diapointed in such a low turnout at the polls yesterday. Why is it people are so verbal about their thoughts about local and National politics, but can not take the time to get out to vote? I am ashamed that just under 20% of registered voters came out yesterday to exercise the right to vote. Adults, teach your children the power they have! If every parent in America would just make it a personal interest in teaching the importance of exersizing the right to vote to their children and followed through by having your family vote together as a unit, I am pretty sure we could triple the turnout for the comming years. It is so important, they
( our children ) will someday be the ones to benifit from it. If they do not act at the local level what is going to happen on the National elections? Educate Educate, it is all of our duty to Educate for best interest of our Country.

jessnjeff
11
Points
jessnjeff 10/05/11 - 11:30 am
0
0
Read My Lips

I hope the borough begins hearing what the people, we the people, are saying. We keep saying no means no, means no... I'm hopeful we won't have to keep replaying this broken record. I also am hopeful that the assembly will work to fix -not it's hearing problem- but it's listening problem. Stop trying to find a way to wheedle more from the tax payers. If you have a pet project, pay for it yourself but don't obligate us to do so on your behalf. Let's keep the money for buying our own groceries thanks.

soldotna
50
Points
soldotna 10/05/11 - 01:09 pm
0
0
Why

Why would anyone turn out to vote. The people have voted down stuff in the past that get over turned later by the assembly so whats the point?

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 10/05/11 - 01:22 pm
0
0
K I S

Wed. 10/5/11
Yo "Soldotna" are You a AMERICAN ?
If So ? then YOU SHOULD VOTE period, end of story
KEEP IT SIMPLE.

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 10/05/11 - 01:22 pm
0
0
K I S

Wed. 10/5/11
Yo "Soldotna" are You a AMERICAN ?
If So ? then YOU SHOULD VOTE period, end of story
KEEP IT SIMPLE.

cheapersmokes
1259
Points
cheapersmokes 10/05/11 - 05:24 pm
0
0
Response to "Why"

That is the main reason to always cast your vote and that is to get those who don't listen or care what the citizens tell them to get them out of office so your voice is not only heard but clearly understood. I am from Minnesota and we always hit over 75% of those eligible casting their vote in every election and will hit 100% of it's for a controversial school bond issue on the local level.

witchwitch
51
Points
witchwitch 10/05/11 - 06:28 pm
0
0
Citizens initiative supported by the voters!

I hope our Borough Assembly takes a hard look at the results of this election. I believe that the people want their Borough to respect their will by respecting the initiatives passed through citizens' initiatives.

The Assembly has subverted almost every citizen initiative passed in the last ten years. We now need to support the only candidate left that actually respects the will of the people.

Fred Sturman has worked to support the voters will, while the other candidate claims that the voters didn't realize the consequences of a grocery tax holiday and supported the contention that our Borough needs more tax revenue.

The big issue is whether our Borough leadership will promote more spending and more growth for Borough government. Borough government has grown every year, while our economy is stagnant. Something must change, unless the voters believe that higher taxes and larger Borough government is what is needed to promote economic development.

Mike Navarre supports higher taxes as a necessary component to promote local growth. He supported using a portion of the PFD to fund state government in 1999. Fred Sturman supported Ed Martin Sr.'s "Save your Dividend" effort and helped produce the signatures that caused that issue to be brought to people in that statewide election.

Fred Sturman is the only candidate that believes that our economy will be stronger by controlling the growth of Borough government. He is also the only candidate that has fought, for years, to demand that the government listen to the voters.

fish4food
0
Points
fish4food 10/05/11 - 08:07 pm
0
0
We need to vote!

I agree with most everyone, if you do not vote, keep your mouth shut and feel ashamed. I was raised in a household that did not vote due to the fact that my parents didn't feel their vote would make a difference. We have proven that to be wrong in several close elections. Now more than ever is the time to vote. No mater what side of an issue you are on, make your vote count. I mean it would be great if all of you that disagree with my point of view stayed home and didn't vote but just think about the enjoyment of gloating when your side of the issue wins! I take pride in the fact that I am an American and free to vote. I owe that to all those that fought and died to protect that right. I want to thank teachers like Mr. Gustkey that teach the importance of voting, and encourage students to learn about candidates and the issues of the day as well. I have a daughter in his class and I took her with me and walked her though the whole process to show that it is a very easy thing to do. If he had not requested his students go I would not have thought to take my daughter and walk her though the process. I always discuss issues with my kids as well so that they can see the importance of voting. I hope to change the thought process about voting with my kids. I hope more parents do the same and get their children involved and share your opinions with them. Tell them why you feel one way or another about an issue. They will be the ones running our government before long. Remember, the best way to teach is by example.

soldotna
50
Points
soldotna 10/06/11 - 07:45 am
0
0
You know what they say about Assuming

No place in my statement did it say I did not vote. The point I was trying to make is maybe we have a low voter turn out because They "the government" doesn't really give a damn what we the people think if its not what the government wants.

cheapersmokes
1259
Points
cheapersmokes 10/06/11 - 12:13 pm
0
0
Assuming you need to get active!

Soldotna if your so concerned about those elected not listening to the voters and only doing what they feel is right then you not only need to vote but get off of your couch and go out and work on the campaign of those running who will actually listen to the voters and act accordingly. Democracy was never set up to be an easy thing and we all must work to ensure it lasts and thrives for all of the citizens.

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