Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Fairbanks Area Election Results: A Poor Showing, Indeed

Another election has come and gone here in the heart of Greater Redneckia, and I must say, we really did not impress.

Oh, I'm not commenting on the outcomes of any particular item (yet) but the fact that our voter turnout just, well, sucked.  For the amount of whingeing and ranting prior to the big day about the great threat to wood boilers posed by clean air, not to mention the creeping socialism of trying to eliminate the ubiquitous plastic shopping bag*, one might expect a vigorous display of participation in the process.  From a town with a significant military presence and a truly impressive number of flag decals on vehicles, one might expect a little more enthusiasm for the most basic act of living in a democracy representative form of gummint.  Ya know, exercise that right that we've supposedly been sending our troops all over to protect?

But no.  As to outcomes, the city sales tax didn't pass which should come as no surprise to anyone with a faint acquaintance with Fairbanks.  I suppose I should be happy, as a not-city resident, but I do have to rely on its services while I am present in the city, which is at minimum five days a week. But fortunately for myself and all those who don't live within its bounds and therefore (do not) pay property tax in the city, Fairbanksans hate taxes so much more than your average tax hating American that they will scuttle any attempt to do something about paying for necessary services like roads and cops and the nice people who run into burning buildings for a living.  So, uh, thanks for the free ride guys.

We have a run-off election for borough mayor to look forward to, and a clearer distillation of the political spectrum around here could not be found in the two candidates left standing:  Luke Hopkins and Tammie Wilson.  Hopkins is, to a certain segment of the local population, the face of creeping socialism, unionism, and flaming liberalism despite his having rolled over on the plastic bag tax issue, being a wood burner himself, and possessing a skilled trade (carpentry.)  In other parts of the world, he might be considered moderate - but well, it's all about location.  Wilson, and this is the funniest description of the other end of the spectrum I've heard recently, is described by the News Minus as a 'private property rights advocate.'  Need I go further? 

*Known in other parts of state as the "scourge of Western Alaska."


Anonymous said...

You had me at 'Greater Redneckia'...couldn't have said it better!

Ishmael said...

What was your turnout? We had 27 percent in the Kodiak Island Borough.

The irony is that if everyone who was progressive enough actually got out to vote (or to speak up), the rightwingnuts in our state would be shown to be the minority that they are.

Deirdre Helfferich said...

Yeah, private property doesn't get to vote yet. But it does have free speech rights and it gets to lobby senators and congresspeople (y'know, corporations).

FlictheBic said...

I had the (mis) fortune of watching Ms Wilson in action at the candidate forum that Doyon hosted a week before the election. She clearly has been studying Palin's playbook - down to the nauseating winks and smirks. I almost expected to hear a "gotcha" or "mavericky". I think we will be in for a lot more BS than just her private property rights stuff. And unfortunately I do see her taking the run-off....Hopkins undoubtedly took all of the liberal to moderate votes - Tammy will pick up the Boddy and Hutchinson votes - and we will be in for the type of borough leadership that will make us look back on the Rhonda Boyles' years with a fond tear in our eyes.

CabinDweller said...

Yeah Flic,

The immediate future in our neck of the woods is rather grim. But Ish has a point, how many progressives didn't bother to vote?

If it comes down to four votes again (in the manner of the Mike Kelly reeelection) I shall be mightily pissed.

Coldfoot said...

"Thanks for the free ride"

If you feel such guilt, go to the city office and pay for any city service you wish. Pay what you think it is worth.

I'm sure someone will take your money, surely the mayor will.

CabinDweller said...

Well, uh, all my purchases occur in Fairbanks, thus supporting businesses which DO pay taxes.

(With the exception of booze, I buy that out here in the Valley to support our local booze purveyors. Though now at Ivory Jack's, still am not shopping at Goldstream Store.)

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you I must disagree, FBH. If voter rolls are as fubared as I think they are, Fairbanks saw well over 1/4 hit the polls on an off year (no state or national races). That's not bad.

CabinDweller said...

I never did check on the numbers (participation) on this one. But 25%?? Is that good?

Anonymous said...

I've seen a hella lot worse. Seriously. And even 25 percent is a vast underestimate given the screwed up voter registration rolls here.

Anonymous said...

Of the eight people in my the vicinity of my office, only one bothered to vote on 10/08.

The second time around, seven people voted. Six of them found that they had to vote questioned ballots because their names "somehow" were not listed in on the roll for their district(s). Oddly enough, these folks have not moved, changed their names, addresses or registrations in ten years or more. However... this tends to prove both points rather equally: dismal turnout AND bizarre voter registration rolls- albeit in a microcosm. (Hey, that's what statistics are all about, though, right? ...extrapolating data...)