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For the week of Oct. 27, 1999 through Nov. 2, 1999

Bond issue vote uncertain


By RON SOBLE
Express Staff Writer

Predicting the outcome of bond issues—in any community on any issue—is a tricky business at best. Clearing the required two-thirds approval hurdle is a difficult chore even for sophisticated election consultants.

Some states already have lowered the two-thirds margin—largely linked to the fact that bond measures trigger property tax increases—but Idaho isn’t one of them.

Even Mary Austin Crofts, Blaine County’s recreation director, who’s been campaigning relentlessly for the Community Recreation Bond, is unsure of the outcome.

"If people understand what it’s all about, they’ll support it," she said in a conversation this week.

By election day, the district will have spent about $10,000 in support of the bond effort, cash generated by a fund-raiser. The first few thousand dollars underwrote a professional telephone poll in September that, presumably, helped define issues that might put the $11.85 million measure over the top—such as the community’s commitment to its youth. Another $4,000 was paid to Ketchum-based Lucas Marketing Group to provide information support, including voter registration lists, for volunteers working telephone banks. More campaign dollars were tagged for radio spots and newspaper advertising.

Meanwhile, volunteers have been pounding the pavement, knocking on doors and handing out pamphlets in an effort to sell the bond issue to the county’s almost 9,800 voters.

Chris Potters, a member of the Ketchum City Council and one of the door-to-door volunteers, said she eschews a hard sell approach. "I just think it’s presumptuous," she said. [The voters] will look into their heart of hearts."

Maybe.

Although the number of "no-on-the-bond" letters to the Idaho Mountain Express haven’t been as numerous as those written by bond advocates, opponents nevertheless have been vociferous in urging the measure’s defeat. Their arguments range from opposition to a property tax increase to a perception that the bond package is full of "frills."

Separately, but importantly, there are city council seats to decide on this Tuesday’s ballot. Voters can pick up some quick knowledge on the candidates—and the bond issue—by reviewing this newspaper’s special election package, beginning on Page A22.

Whatever your preferences on the candidates and the bond, it’s important that you vote. Blaine County’s future is in your hands.

 

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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.