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  • Last modified 48 days ago (Dec. 14, 2022)

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Muzzling citizens

To the editor:

At a Patriots of Liberty public meeting, Ruth Herbel, a Marion City Council member, educated everyone about Ordinance No. 22, passed by the City of Marion on July 25.

This ordinance takes away the voice of the people to vote on general obligation bonds. It also removes the debt limit.

Kansas state statutes specify that if a city wants to issue general obligation bonds, they must be approved by the public in an election. The City of Marion, because it is a “home rule” city, can opt out of any state statute, and it chose to do this for bond approval.

Part of Ordinance 22 states that a petition signed by 10% of the qualified voters in the most recent city election will put the passage of the ordinance to a vote by city electors.

A group of concerned citizens gathered more than the signatures needed to force an election, which will be Tuesday.

If the “yes” votes win, Ordinance 22 will go into effect, and the council will be the only group deciding on general obligation bonds going forward, effectively silencing city constituents.

If the “no” votes win, Ordinance 22 goes in the trash, and electors will continue to have a voice on whether the city goes into debt or not.

Peggy Blackman, who was mayor of Marion from 1977 to 1986, also spoke against the Ordinance.

She stated that whenever the city asked for the people to vote for bond issuance in the past, the people always approved of projects that city leaders determined was necessary for indebtedness.

She questioned why the council no longer trusts the public to approve its actions.

Ruth also shared that a public forum for agenda items that had been part of city council meetings recently was removed.

This essentially muzzles city people from voicing an opinion on issues they’re concerned about before the council votes.

What good is it to have a public forum at the end of the meeting, after all voting is done?

In this era of apathy, governmental bodies should be doing everything they can to increase public involvement and participation rather than squelching it, whether it’s by voice or by vote.

Voting Tuesday will be at Eastmoor United Methodist Church. Mail-in ballots will be accepted but would have had to have been requested before Dec. 13. Early in-person voting still can be done at the courthouse the week before from noon till 4:30 p.m. and Monday from 8:30 a.m. till noon.

Remember: Vote “no” on Ordinance 22!

Rose Davidson
Marion

Last modified Dec. 14, 2022

 

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