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(Insert Your Group) Supports Levy

October 31st, 2007 by Steven Gardner

Are “joiners” more likely to support tax levies than those who shy away from civic organizations?

I saw this today on the Manette Neighborhood Coalition site.

The Manette Coalition Board of Directors has unanimously endorsed the Neighborhoods Now! Levy.

We believe in supporting measures that promote parks that we can walk to from our homes. An investment in maintaining and retaining open spaces in our neighborhoods fits with our core values. The Neighborhoods Now! Levy is affordable, has a time limit (6 years) and will benefit all citizens of Bremerton; many of our parks are in dire need of revitalizatioon.

As an autonmous neighborhood organization, we have become more involved in attending city council and park commission meetings. The process has been enlightening and interesting. We may not always support everything coming out of city hall, but this is one measure that is highly beneficial and gives great value for a very small personal investment. Please mark your ballot “YES” on proposition 1.

If I lick my finger and put it in the air, I can’t tell you which way the wind is blowing on Bremerton’s Proposition 1. I’ve heard lots of support from different groups. Supporters canvassed the city’s likely voters and have planted signs around town.

Bremerton City Councilman Cecil McConnell and council candidates Roy Runyon and Cassandra Helmrick have all said they planned to vote against it, but I’ve heard of no organized opposition actively campaigning against it.

There was a group or two organized against the ferry measure, but I believe if you were to take chambers of commerce and other like organizations, including newspapers, and line them up next to organizations that opposed the ferry item, the pro list would be much longer. And yet the ferry measure lost by a large margin.

So if I’m right, why is it that civic groups generally support tax and other measures. Secondly, why are they so often on the losing side of the ballot?

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10 Responses to “(Insert Your Group) Supports Levy”

  1. Blue Light Says:

    “why is it that civic groups generally support tax and other measures. Secondly, why are they so often on the losing side of the ballot?”

    You can ask the same questions about your newspaper.

  2. Steven Gardner Says:

    That’s right. In fact if you read the blog entry you’ll notice I lumped newspapers in with civic groups. I’ve a hunch there is a common thread.

  3. Gordon E. Bemrose Says:

    People want other people to pay for something that will benefit them only. If those people want that neighborhood park, why don’t they pool their money and pay for it?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    “So if I’m right, why is it that civic groups generally support tax and other measures.”

    Local civic groups want additional government services which are not prioritized within current tax receipts.

    “Secondly, why are they so often on the losing side of the ballot?”

    Most local voters, otherwise known as local taxpayers, want services proritized within current tax payments.

  5. Bob Meadows Says:

    Most groups, whether they are elected or social, behave as though it is heretical to oppose any tax increase.

    So do most newspaper editors and reporters.

    Their complete lack of judgment in choosing among the tax increases that are proposed makes them minor players — and puts them on the losing side when unreasonable proposals are made.

    When was the last time the Sun’s editorial staff failed to support approval of a tax?

    The last one I recall was more than 10 years ago.

    When did any elected group fail to support someone’s tax proposal? Not even the KRL proposal for a more than 70 percent increase in its regular levy caused any lack of endorsements from groups (like the SKSD board) whose own future proposals would have to go against the effect of such a hike. This was true despite the absence of any explanation from KRL that showed a need for an additional $6 million to cover a $2 million deficit that resulted from a 30 percent increase in operating expenditures over the span of two years.

    The “joiners” lose, because they pay no attention to whether the proposal is justified or not. They seem to think this is all an “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” process.

    The voters don’t all play that game. Many of them actually have the inclination to look to see whether the proposal is reasonable and justified. It only takes a few to swing the election, since the irrational “yes” and “no” voters rarely constitute a majority.

  6. Blue Light Says:

    I thought the press was meant to serve as an advocate for the people. When it consistently allies itself with “government” (as this discussion contends), it neglects its responsibilities as the “fourth estate”. These responsibilities are critical to the well-being of our democracy. The fact that they are being shirked is no laughing matter.

  7. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Well most media outlets are tilted to the left .

    Please this is a FOX Free bashing zone, I will not dispute they tilt to the right .

    And I would say from my volunteering experience most secular charities are also tilted to the left . But even that said , I tend to see the difference is more city V rural viewpoints being represented by civic groups . More government supported programs such as transportation have their greatest number of customers in the city . Civic groups tend to support that city view point in my opinion .

  8. Kathryn Simpson Says:

    Those who are more involved in the community may have a broader sense of “pulse” about the needs and the mechanisms available to meet those needs than the average citizen. Connecting the “need” dots to the “funding” dots requires collaboration.

    Sometimes, needs require going out for a levy or a bond. Other times the funds are pursued through grants or private (meaning not public- not intended to mean secret) funding.

    The levies and bonds make the news because they require public buy-in, since the public will be directly providing the funding. Any use of public funds should have broad public scrutiny. Grants and private funding sources don’t make the news, but do a lot of good in our communities.

    Reminds me of the waterfall in the middle of the Port Orchard Round-About. Someone got angry in a letter to the editor that it was a waste of taxpayer funds. Turned out that taxpayer funds weren’t used. The Rotary (if I recall correctly) donated the funds as part of a Port Orchard beautification initiative.

    Some of us are out actively advocating against things, just as we advocate for other things. I, for one, am a rather vocal critic of using so much public funding for the SEED project.

    Kathryn Simpson

  9. Kathryn Simpson Says:

    By the way, Bob, the Library Levy received the endorsement of the SKSD Board on April 18th after the SKSD Bond failed. Our students and families need expanded educational services that the libraries provide, especially since our community didn’t approve the bond, which would have allowed the school district to improving technology access and library services within the school system. It certainly wasn’t anything to do with “I’ll scratch my back if you scratch mine”. It wasn’t just a defacto endorsement. I’d encourage you to read the April 18, 2007 minutes.

    You might also recall that the Port of Bremerton taught us all a lesson in unintended consequences of one taxing authority undermining other efforts and there was certainly no “back-scratching” on that either.

    Kathryn Simpson

  10. Bob Meadows Says:

    Kathryn, what I read back in April, other than the brief newspaper article in the POI, was the SKSD resolution regarding the KRL lid lift. I just now read the minutes as you suggested, and found that they said even less than the resolution itself.

    I knew then (and know now) that your endorsement of the KRL lid lift came after your bond measure was rejected. I know that the bond measure will not be the last ballot measure from SKSD, so I know that your future measures would have had to deal with the effect of the KRL lid lift, if it had been approved.

    Your resolution contains no hint that the SKSD board knew that the KRL lid lift called for an increase of more than 70 percent in the levy. It shows not the slightest knowledge that the deficit facing KRL resulted from a 30 percent increase in spending in the past two years. It shows a complete misunderstanding of the increase in demand for library services, when it says that demand has increased 4 times faster than revenue. Demand, as indicated by the number of items put into circulation and the number of people actually using the library went up by roughly the same as revenue. Only the number of library cards went up by the factor you put in your resolution — and just as many people don’t frequently use their ballots, many people don’t frequently use their library cards.

    When your board or any other demonstrates that they know how big the proposed increase is, and what actually might justify such an increase, then I will tend to think that you have used good judgment in endorsing its approval by the voters.

    I would bet you still don’t know that KRL could have increased spending by 8 percent a year and still ended up with $10 million in reserves from budget surpluses in 2008 through 2011 if the proposed lid lift had been approved. Nothing, and I really mean nothing, was offered to explain such huge increases in spending and such a large accumulation of reserves that would have resulted.

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