The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Simplified guide to 3 public questions on Tuesday ballot


There are three public questions for voters to weigh in on Tuesday.
 


There are three "public questions" on ballots Plainfield voters will see when they vote Tuesday at the polls.

While the questions were printed in full on the sample ballots that voters received in the mail, they were printed in red ink in a very small typeface that is hard to read.

Not only that, the language of both the question itself and the so-called "interpretive statement" designed to clarify each question is almost impenetrable.

Here is a really simplified guide to the three public questions appearing on Union County ballots --
ONE: NORTH JERSEY CASINOS
A "yes" vote would authorize the opening of two new casinos in North Jersey,

I personally think that the proliferation of gambling in the neighboring states of Pennsylvania and New York has had a great deal to do with the decline of Atlantic City as a gambling resort. To my mind, casinos in North Jersey would a) have a disastrous effect on Atlantic City's viability, and b) be chasing a dwindling portion of an economic pie.

I am voting "no" on this question.

TWO: GAS TAX 'LOCKBOX'
A "yes" vote on this question would establish a so-called "lockbox" for the newly increased gas tax revenues, dedicating them to the Transportation Trust Fund.

As everyone knows, both the governor and the Legislature have made a habit of raiding funds on a yearly basis to balance the state budget. (One example is the fund established by receipts from utilities for rights of way in communities; supposed to come back to the municipalities, it has been hijacked by Christie every year.)

Lt. Gov. Guadagno has recommended voting against this question as a way of "making a statement" against the gas tax. I think that is idiotic.

The gas tax -- like it or not -- is here to stay. Why not guarantee the money is used for transportation projects only?

I will be voting "yes" on this question.

THREE: UNION COUNTY OPEN SPACE TRUST FUND
This public question affects Union County residents only, and would permanently extend the Open Space Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, which is assessed at 1 ½ cents per $100 of valuation ($15/year on a property valued at $100,000).

While Plainfielders approved this fund when it was created, the question is complicated somewhat by accusations that the County has diverted a good portion of the monies into its general operating expenses, rather than the purposes designated (you can read a critique by the CountyWatchers here, and examples of raiding the fund here).

Despite these criticisms, the fund provides financing for acquisition and development of open space and recreational projects in Plainfield (including the proposed improvements at Cedar Brook Park). With the community's interest in Historic Preservation, we should also benefit on that front from such a fund's existence

Despite the criticisms of the County, I will be voting "yes" on this question.
The polls are open on Tuesday (November 8) from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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