LETTER: Vote ‘yes’ on the New Brighton ballot question.

To the Editor:

 

The greatest democratic energies often result from the misuse of government power. This is exactly what happened after the New Brighton City Council decided to intentionally change the city’s election year in a manner that gave all incumbent members an extra year in office. Grassroots outrage drove volunteers to gather over 500 voter signatures to oppose the measure. Because of these efforts, the offending ordinance is on the November ballot.

Partly because of this grassroots anger here in New Brighton, the legislature almost passed a reform preventing cities from changing the length of terms already elected by the voters. This would not have prevented New Brighton from moving to even-year elections, but would merely delay the change by two years and require one extra election.

New Brighton responded by hiring a major lobbying firm to oppose this common-sense reform. The city decided paying thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to lobbyists to protect the council’s extra year was a better deal than paying to hear from voters in an extra election. 

A “yes” vote will veto the council’s self-gift of an extra year in office, require the regular 2019 election be held and reinforce good government principles. A “yes” vote will not prevent the city from moving to even-year elections in the future. It should, however, serve as a wake-up call that we expect the council to represent the voters, not themselves. I encourage everyone to vote “yes” on Nov. 6.

 

Ben Jones

New Brighton

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