I recently went to Wal-Mart in Redding. At the front door there were several young men asking folks to sign petitions. I asked what the petitions were about and was told, “There was a large Indian Casino to be built at I-5 and Bonneyview Rd. in Redding. It would require a large amount of City of Redding money for infrastructure and that my property taxes would go up if the Casino wasn’t stopped.”
My response was, “That’s a lie!” The young man said, “No it’s the truth,” so I turned and walked into the store. After completing my shopping and doing a slow burn, I exited, approached two of the young men and said, “I have served in local government and know for a fact that my property taxes will not go up and that the businesses surrounding that interchange will themselves have to pay for the infrastructure improvements.”
I then opined that their morality apparently reached only as deep as whatever they were being paid to collect signatures based on lies. I then left.
I am not particularly proud of my comment to them, but was — and am still — irritated about the irresponsibility of paid signature gatherers and by people who sign things based on lies without verifying the facts. I feel the same way about those who vote on ballot propositions based on the title and the pro and con arguments contained within the booklet. There is no law that the arguments be factual and often the ballot arguments are downright false. It is only after reading the fine print of the actual law, contained in the booklet, that fact can be separated from the fiction, lies, and emotional content of the ballot arguments.
Sadly, too few voters take the time to know anything other than the title and whatever TV and radio commercials tell them the “truth” is; even when the “truth” isn’t truth at all, either in media ads nor for paid petition gatherers.
Ken Murray lives in Redding and works at Redding Realty where he has been an agent for 37 years. He served two terms on the Redding City Council, 1994 to 1998, and 2004 to 2008. He has been active in many other service projects in Redding and was a talk radio host for more than 10 years focusing on local issues.