Story last updated at 3:09 p.m. Thursday, September 12, 2002

Public input important
If the grocery exemption for sales tax passes, the city expects to lose about $400,000 of tax revenue. The city manager says this will mean cutting services -- what happened to the $600,000 surplus from annexation? Was that all smoke and mirrors? He also objected to this being "determined by someone outside the city, who will be determining our levels of service." Maybe now he understands how the people annexed feel. Having someone inside the city determine what services they would get and have to pay for, whether they want them or not. (And having someone else decide they would have more government imposed on them.) At least the sales tax issue is being voted on!

Meanwhile, Ray Kranich thinks how the city handled annexation wrong was to not do a better job of explaining the benefits. Earth to Ray: it was the lack of public input. There was a quote in the Anchorage Daily News a little while back that sheds some light on the problem: "When government activity is conducted in secret with the intent of preventing public opinion from mobilizing, it virtually ensures that once mobilized, public opinion will oppose the activity." (Steven L. Katz, from "The Freedom Forum First Amendment Calendar.") Involving the public in the planning process for annexation would have gone a long way toward reducing opposition. Next time, try to do it right.

Abigail Fuller

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