Thank you, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members Kelly Wolf, Wayne Ogle, Dale Bagley, Charlie Pierce and Sue McClure for your vote against Ordinance 2013-36 that would have raised taxes on about 20 percent of KPB seniors.
Your votes were a significant step in protecting senior benefits and rights, that some of your fellow assembly members want to reduce or eliminate.
During my short but active involvement with defeating this ordinance, I have learned much about the attitudes, beliefs and positions of most assembly members when it comes to senior issues. Some of it surprising, some heartwarming and some frightening for seniors.
From anti-senior comments such as “this ordinance has nothing to do with money, it is about principle, seniors need to pay more” to “We must support the seniors of the borough, many of us always have and I believe we should continue.”
Borough Mayor Navarre, who will run for re-election, supported raising taxes on seniors and stated that senior benefits should be reviewed as there are too many seniors and the population of seniors is growing. Obviously that is a politically calculated statement he felt was necessary in an election year.
A mixture of arrogance, disdain, jealousy and disregard for seniors came through.
Rather than point at specific assembly members, suffice to say, all wanting to take benefits from seniors are “termed out” as they put it, let’s just take a look:
Disdain: Get even for term limits.
Arrogance: I can do whatever I want with no recourse (termed out).
Jealousy: Jealous of some seniors.
Disregard: Seniors already have too many benefits, we will just take some back.
The good news: Assembly members and the mayor are on the record for supporting or not supporting seniors. All the political PC and political rhetoric in the world cannot change the facts.
Where do seniors go from here?
Forward to insist that all assembly members and future mayors support and honor senior citizen rights and benefits.
How do we do it?
We vote. We make it known that our vote will go to those who support seniors, period. In the last mayoral election Mayor Navarre was elected with only 9 percent of registered voters voting for him. Hardly a mandate. Seniors represent 22 percent of registered voters on the KPB. We can make a difference and we should make a difference both at the assembly and mayoral level.
Seniors should not let themselves be quieted with political correctness or political rhetoric. We can demand “yes” or “no” answers to our questions, no gray areas. Quite a challenge for politicians.
Mayor Navarre said the senior population is growing and their benefits should be reviewed for reduction. He has staked out his position on seniors in the upcoming election. Seniors look forward to seeing how other mayoral candidates view the seniors of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
The vote tally and more commentary can be found at www.kpbseniors.com. Thank you again to all who supported the seniors of the KPB.
Peter T. Zuyus