After the next person complains to you about some borough injustice or that pesky property tax bill, ask them if they voted. Then go check the list of voters that voted in our local election (which is public information that we are considering posting) and see if they did. Odds favor they DIDN'T
It appears we would have to look back to somewhere around 1997 to find as dismal a voter turnout as we did here a couple weeks ago in our borough wide election. That will mean loosely that 4 out of 5 people didn't bother to show up to vote on “how” or “who” is guiding the spending being done in the MatSu Borough with their hard earned tax dollars. Just giving the assembly that was seated the go ahead to get all their direction from the Magic 8 ball they clearly have been using.
We need to remember this when the inevitable bloviating will come from the re-elected ceremonial mayor and assembly members about voter mandates and confidence in what they are doing. Because this pitiful percentage of voters gave the keys to the government car to the crash test dummies once again.
Be sure and think about this dismal turnout when the next $60-$80,000 borough check is authorized to be written for a borough owned ferry floatin in southeast Alaskan waters, the snow is piling up on your road, the ambulance you need is up on jacks waiting for a part for repair because your local emergency service area is out of money and you get another answering machine at code compliance.
Here is some more of what this voter turn should tell you:
• Outsourcing your own job to China and phoning in participation as an elected assembly member is a completely acceptable form of representation in the borough.
• Cutting off public testimony on a stance you don't agree with can be par for the course if you’re the ceremonial mayor. In fact public comment at all is a pesky inconvenience.
• Letting a special interest business group ( like the Matsu Business Alliance) write or rewrite local code and legislation is what you agree is good public policy.
• Your elected officials watering down the ethics code so that "personal gain" is a laughable condition of serving the public was a stroke of genius.
• If you go to certain churches in the borough you don't need to pay attention to what is happening around you because your pastor will tell you how to vote and even give you a copy of the church's voter pamphlet, written on property tax exempt paper or provide you with a bus to get to the polls.
• If you don't have a tall tower, motorized trail, mineral extraction project or your water table hasn't been compromised by the development next door, waiting to care until you do have one of these situations is sufficient.
• Claiming a candidate is anti-development or lying about their positions or record is what you always believe without checking the facts because talk radio is so reliably true.
• Right to life organizations, the Lt. Governor, and sitting state senators can fill your message machines and interrupt your dinner hour to tell who to vote for with their outside of Alaska recorded robo calls.
• Big signs and big business donors will decide who your "citizen government" will be to serve them and not you.
Enough for you? Well apparently it is because the same assembly that we have been telling you about and has been sending you out of the room with your hair on fire will be in the same seats (or on the telephone calling it in) serving only those that paid dearly to put them there. It will be another year of shame for the residents of the borough which should already have died of shame.
This Tuesday/Oct 17th @5pm a band of elected by the minority officials will be sworn into office to continue to not serve your best interest. That will be followed with session of kicking another 1100 page plus packet that only one maybe two of them has read around for several hours and making decisions that will affect not only your bottom line but the quality of life for all of us not just today but for years to come.
So strap on your tinfoil hats folks and keep your arms and legs in the vessel at all times. With the election in the rear-view mirror we will continue on our trip through crazy town and earning that “Mad Zoo”, “Valley Trash” and “Land of the Rule-less” moniker. For now all you can do is scratch your head and ask why people in a country that claim to care so much about the right to vote just DON’T.