November 03, 2003
Back to opinion page.
Reasons to vote
City elections are on top of us, and the parties are making a last-minute push to get people out to the polls. Indications are that turnout will be higher than four years ago. Here are some things that will get me to the polls:
Most importantly, I will be voting because my vote matters. Four years ago, races for City Council were very close, with the final spot in the at-large race being decided by only 100 votes. City government affects my life more directly than state or federal government, and it is on the local level where my vote and my voice has the most impact. Please join me in voting your preference on Election Day.
- Taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood. Every year since 1999, city government has given a taxpayer subsidy to the local Planned Parenthood branch. PP is America's #1 abortion provider, and abortions in Bloomington have increased significantly in recent years. Planned Parenthood's national branch has more than enough money to help the local branches without Bloomington taxpayers being forced to fund them.
- Fire Safety. As I explained in my last column, Fred Prall's leadership on the Fire Safety Commission forced the city to adequately fund the Fire Department to address maintenance, equipment and personnel needs that had been ignored for two long.
- Overzealous sign ordinances. The city passed strict restrictions on pole signs in 1999, making it difficult for small businesses (like the recently closed Cattle Ranch on west Third Street) to let potential customers know where they are and giving an advantage to national chains, whose buildings ARE a sign. From June 2000 to June 2003, the city issued 351 tickets for "illegal temporary signage" such as banners to advertise a sale.
- The smoking ban. Government has told businesses that they cannot allow a legal product on their property, restricting property rights and personal choice. This despite the fact that most people are non-smokers and the free market is moving toward a non-smoking environment. The application of this ordinance to bars is especially extreme.
- The proposed "living wage" law. It would mandate a high wage for employers that do business with the city and increase their costs, not to mention put a significant strain on the city budget.
- The Democrats' determination to disenfranchise student voters if their votes determine the outcome of the election. The Democrats are effectively ticketing people for driving 67 miles per hour on I-69. Isn't it funny how higher turnout and student participation is good until it threatens the Democrats claim on the City Council?
- Traffic. Fred Prall has proposed solutions to ease the traffic burden on our most heavily traveled streets. This is a problem that needs to be addressed as Bloomington inevitably grows.
- Subsidies to the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre and the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, approved by the Democrat-dominated City Council. In Buskirk-Chumley, the city is taxing everyone for the leisure of a few. With the BEDC, all taxpayers are forced to fund a controversial entity that gets enough money from high membership fees.
- The master meter hook-on fee, which hurts renters by forcing landlords to pass the cost on to their tenants.
- The proposal to give Democratic Mayor John Fernandez veto power over sewer extensions in the county, thus implementing regulation without representation on people who cannot vote in city elections.
- Mark Kruzan's complaints that Prall is too negative for pointing out problems in the city that need to be fixed. Everything is not perfect in this city, and Kruzan does not provide a vision to solve these problems by putting his head in the sand.