Well, this doesn't happen too often

I agree 100 percent with a column by David Yepsen. It's about how the “Destiny” tax proposal will lose and deserves to lose.

Here's the link to his piece in the Des Moines Register today. It's hard to know what to excerpt, because he makes a lot of good points. Here's one Chris Woods and I haven't discussed previously on this site:

The supporters' big hope now is that all the groups that will get additional money will vote for it, while those opponents will forget there's an election on July 10. That's what the supporters were trying to do when they scheduled this for a summertime special election – manipulate the outcome.

Which raises another issue for state lawmakers to consider. Why should governments and interest groups be allowed to schedule elections in an effort to affect the results? Got a tax increase or bond issue to get approved? Then schedule the election when people might not be paying attention – like mid-July – so a small handful of voters can push it through.

It amounts to governments playing games with their people. No wonder folks get cynical. Legislators should put a stop to it by adopting an idea Secretary of State Mike Mauro and Gov. Chet Culver have suggested: Governments should be required to hold bond elections and special ballot elections on just a handful of pre-determined dates. For example, once every six months, the state could specify a date on which all bond referendums, ballot initiatives or elections to fill vacancies must be held.

Also in the Sunday Register, you'll find a write-up of this opinion poll, which found that people in the three counties that will be voting oppose the Destiny proposal 2 to 1.

The question is, will these people turn out to vote? The groups that will benefit from the spending are working to get supporters to vote–as a member of the Des Moines Art Center, I got an e-mail recently containing an absentee ballot request form as an attachment.

I think the “Destiny” proposal will go down in flames. It probably wouldn't have passed even if the promoters hadn't sent out misleading direct-mail pieces supporting it (the first one didn't mention the sales-tax hike, and another one included a quote from an elderly woman who later said she never made the comment attributed to her in the mailer). But those mistakes certainly hurt their cause too.

  • Well said, DMD

    I can’t say I agree with everything Yepsen says, mainly because he takes great lengths to emphasize the reason folks should be cynical about local politics (Yepsen should be encouraging ordinary citizens to keep speaking out against the perceived corruption and incompetence–like Pete Rose–and call on them to get involved and throw the rats out).  But the excerpt you highlight is one of the key points of the piece–they’ve openly tried to rig the election with a summer vote.  It is a damn sleazy thing to do, but it makes sense as a political maneuver.  The fact is, however, that maneuver shouldn’t be allowed.

    When looking at Project Destiny as a whole, I love the idea of spending more on cultural and quality of life projects in the area, as well as decreasing taxes.  Their method is just plain wrong; not to mention that they have other more fundamental priorities to worry about in the first place.

    Once Des Moines gets it act together, and once the region as a whole learns that we don’t have to always be competing with each other, then maybe we can start considering projects like this.

    Until then, I guess it just goes to show that if Des Moines had ever sought the imput or employed a good group of urban planners, then we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.

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