Reader sees double standard in assembly actions

Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009

This is a tale of two groups and understanding the truth about our local "representative government."

There are two groups in the Kenai Peninsula Borough who would like to have an issue put on the October municipal ballot. For this discussion, we'll call them group one and group two. Group one is led by several previously elected government officials and group two is an assortment of ordinary citizens.

Group one desires to build a $25.5 million dollar sports complex somewhere in the central peninsula and create a massive new service area to manage it. This project will require everyone in the area pay more property tax to pay off the construction bonds, hire additional borough employees (with full benefit packages), pay utility bills, insurance, maintenance, and the inevitable expansion of services somewhere in the not-too-distant future.

In 2007, group two asked the Borough Assembly for term limits and was told to go collect signatures on a petition. Group two collected several thousand signatures, which forced the borough to put term limits on the ballot where a majority of voters approved it.

Initiative ordinances are only protected by state statutes for two years. After that the assembly can repeal or amend any voter approved law. Assembly President Millie Martin was quoted recently saying she intends to change the 2007 law approved by voters and extend the time before term limits are enforced to three terms instead of the voter approved two.

Now group two is forced to collect several thousand more signatures to put term limits back on the October ballot for voters to once again consider.

For obvious reasons, group one is a big supporter of "representative government", because they are actually represented. For those of us in group two who are not represented it is of course a different story. If the borough assembly would like to at least appear fair and "representative," I would suggest that group one be sent out to collect signatures for their project to be put on the ballot, or put the term limits proposed by group two on the ballot, without being forced to by several thousand voters' signatures on a petition.

The assembly can't have it both ways without revealing the truth about what motivates our "representative government" to act. Either they will represent everyone equally or they will only cater to their special-interest supporters from group one. Be sure to attend the July 7 and Aug. 4 borough assembly meetings, and witness for yourself how government really works here on the Kenai Peninsula. It will be very revealing for all to see.

Mike McBride

North Kenai

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