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Archive for the ‘2014 – Proposition 2’ Category

Prop 2 Sample Ballot 2014, page 2

Prop 2 Sample Ballot 2014, page 2

Oct. 7, 2014 is the FNSB municipal election. Registered voters will decide on Proposition 2 that prohibits the Borough from any regulation of heating appliances or fuels. Please vote “NO” to allow local government to take action to improve your air and health.

Proposition 2 “prohibits the borough from regulating in any way heating appliances or combustible fuels.” Assembly Factual Resolution, approved 8/14/2014

2014 Sample Ballot. The image links to the sample ballot posted by the Borough.

Citizens for Clean Air – No on Prop 2 submitted the following position statement opposing Prop 2:

Vote “NO” on Proposition 2

Proposition 2 prevents local government from taking action on the most significant issue facing our health and economy: Fairbank’s air pollution.

Vote “NO” to allow local government to take action to stop reckless pollution.

Our opponents want you to vote “yes” to tie the hands of local government. They want officials to do nothing to stop those who have injured neighbors and schoolchildren. They want government to sit on its hands while a few continue to burn irresponsibly. Our opponents are fiddling while Fairbanks burns.

Vote “NO” to take back the Borough’s ability to stop air pollution. Local air pollution has sickened many, forced families to move, lowered property values, reduced business investment, and, in all likelihood, contributed to the death of someone you know. People need to be able to heat their homes responsibly; however, tools are needed to stop thoughtless polluters promptly. This can’t be done from Juneau, or DC.

Claim: “We’ve always had ice fog in Fairbanks a few days each winter, it’s no big deal.”
Fact: It’s a big deal. It’s as serious as a heart attack. Exposure to fine particle or PM2.5 air pollution (the kind we have in Fairbanks and North Pole) “over a few hours to weeks can trigger (both) cardiovascular disease–related mortality, and nonfatal events.” Longer-term exposure can “reduce (someone’s) life expectancy…by several months to a few years.” (American Heart Association)

Claim: “Even if there’s a problem, rules and regulations won’t help.”
Fact: Some people just don’t care. Look at drunk drivers. We need a way to protect our homes and families. James Connor, former Borough air quality manager, stated, “Trash. Tires…. Railroad ties. Feces. Animal carcasses. You would not believe what they burn.”

Claim: ”If regulations are allowed, “they” will come to take your stove away.”
Fact: Essential burners, families who have only wood or coal for heating, are protected by Federal and State statutes. There are about 2,000 essential burners in the borough, and 13,000 non-essential wood burners. When air quality gets bad, people with oil burners could be asked to switch back.

Claim: “There is a problem but natural gas is the only cure.”
Fact: For most, natural gas is years away and the cost to hook up could fatally hamper this solution.

Claim: “The State and Federal Government can deal with it.”
Fact: Yes, Juneau, Missoula and Salt Lake City were all forced by the EPA to clean up their dirty, dangerous air. We can do it better, and quicker, without the heavy hand of the law.

Both sides of this issue agree that rising fuel costs make wood heat attractive. However, our air pollution will max out if inefficient stoves remain, or if people burn green wood, garbage, or plastics.

It’s a disgrace that Fairbanks is one of the top 10 most polluted cities in the US (#7 for Short-Term Particle Pollution–American Lung Association). This community values our kids, our elders, and our future! Vote “no” on Prop 2.

— Jeffrey Merkel, Mary Nordale, and Patrice Lee of Citizens for Clean Air-No on Prop 2
Submitted to the Borough Clerk Aug. 22, 2014

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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

 
Proposed Ordinance 2014-20-1F to appropriate $4,500 for publication of initiative statements.
 
FNSB Chapter 2.12.315 Informational insert for initiatives and referendums.
 
FNSB Chapter 2.12.090 Prohibition on use of public moneys to promote passage of ballot propositions.

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