In the 2011 election for city commission, only 20% of registered voters voted! There were 32,015 registered voters - 25,582 people did not vote for any of the commissioner candidates – that is - 80% of register voters did not bother to vote. That doesn’t even count the people who could have been registered and didn’t even bother to do so!
In an election for city commission the top 3 vote getters will become commissioners by simple majority. For example, in the last election, a candidate who got 3,495 votes was actually only elected by 10% of registered voters.
In the first few months after the last election, this commission reversed ordinances passed by the previous commission, sometimes claiming they had a mandate from the people because of their election. This is what a mandate of 10% of voters led to:
1. They stopped inspections of rental properties, thereby allowing landlords to rent properties that do not meet recognized safety standards. This essentially allows landlords free reign to endanger tenants and to embarrass this community in front of all of those student’s parents and all of our soldiers’ families – Manhattan, this reversal says, doesn’t care enough about you to make sure you live in proper housing.
2. Then they reversed the newly amended civil rights ordinance that included protection for LGBT citizens from discrimination. I agree it’s too bad that we have to list people to be protected….but I want to live in a community where the civil rights ordinance says that no one can discriminate against anyone for any reason! But since people DO discriminate, it is sad that 10% of the registered voters elected people who think protection of the any members of our society is unnecessary.
3. They also withdrew support for a fixed route bus system that would help residents without their own transportation get to jobs, grocery stores, doctors’ appointments, classes, etc. – even though it required less than a onetime $12,000 match of funds to grants already in place to support the system.
This commission has consistently demonstrated a lack of concern for the health and welfare of this community. They have cut support for social services and plan future cuts in funding to important agencies in our community. They are more concerned about the “bottom line” then about the quality of life that makes Manhattan the kind of place people want to live.
If you are not registered to vote – the deadline for registering for this election is March 18. The Riley County website (www.rileycountyks.gov/index.aspx?NID=1118) provides information on what you will need to register and what you will need to show when you go to vote.
If you are a registered voter – good for you! Find out about the candidates, elect people who will make Manhattan the kind of welcoming, safe and productive place that will encourage people to invest their business, bring their family and make a good life with us in this community. Help create a community where you want to live.
YOUR vote – every vote - makes a difference!
What are 1,000 votes or 100 or even 10 here and there- isn’t it obvious? Every single voter can influence the outcome of this election. Don’t blame anyone else for what happens in an election that you have not participated in! Be an active citizen – be counted! VOTE – do it for all of us!
Janis Clare Galitzer