Testify tonight in favor of publishing both sets of initiative statements.
The Borough Assembly will meet at 6 pm tonight and take public testimony at 7 pm on whether to authorize spending $4,500 to publish Pro and Con positions on the two citizen initiatives. The clerk received both Pro and Con statements on Prop 1 (tax cap) and Prop 2 (prohibits the Borough from taking action to reduce local air pollution). The Assembly should vote yes to authorize funding to publish both sets of Pro and Con statements. It is important that the public clearly know the issues before they vote. Publishing the statements should help provide the public with this important information.
Informing the public by publishing the statements is appropriate and consistent with current code 2.12.315 and does not violate 2.12.090. If the clerk approves each set of statements, the broadest public interest is best served as current code prohibits publishing one side without the other.
8. Statements advocating both approval and rejection must be accepted by the clerk in order to be published. If only one statement is accepted, it will not be published. 2.12.315
A supporter of Prop 2 submitted a statement in favor of the initiative. Sponsors of Prop 2 were given the opportunity to submit a statement of their own but did not. A choice made by one side must not be allowed to silence qualifying position statements received by the clerk and available for publication.
In addition, please speak in favor of the plan suggested by Assembly Presiding Officer Karl Kassel to amend #8 by removing the requirement that one statement cannot be published without the other. (We have not seen this amendment.) The situation where one side can strategically silence the other by declining to submit a position statement is unethical and contrary to the public interest of helping inform voters. By informing voters on the initiatives, the Borough is only providing a municipal parallel to the same procedure allowed at the state level. Neither side should be allowed or encouraged to game the system and silence the other.
The clerk is prohibited from releasing copies of statements until they’ve gone to the printer. This is not about the content of Pro or Con statements; tonight’s vote is about the principle that FNSB should follow-thru on its responsibility to inform voters regarding initiatives.
In the news story (below), Rep. Tammie Wilson, sponsor of Prop 2, states, “It is not the place of the borough to take sides.” This misleading statement turns around the truth. Publishing a pair of properly submitted Pro and Con positions is NOT taking sides. To refuse to publish these statements silences both sides, and especially (and pointedly) aggrieves the group of residents opposed to Prop 2 who took the time to submit their position statement.
Backers of Fairbanks North Star Borough initiatives oppose borough-funded pamphlet FNSB August 27, 2014