Last week, myself and over 100 people attended the Soldotna City meeting where an ordinance to appropriate $150,000 to fund pursuing annexation was open to public comment.
Over 30 individuals gave their public comments opposing this ordinance. When one individual asked for a raising of hands who were opposed to annexation, only a few hands didn’t go up. In other words, It showed overwhelming support against annexation and any funding to research it.
The City Council was made aware that over 1,000 Borough Residents signed a petition stating they were against annexation. The BRAA association (Borough Residents Against Annexation) also presented evidence that 87 businesses along the K-Beach commercial corridor had been surveyed, asking if they were in favor of, against, or unsure. Only 1 business out of the 87 was for annexation. One.
After hearing all of this research, public comments from both business people and residents, the city council voted 5 to 1 in favor of appropriating funds to research the economic benefits of annexation.
So much for what the public feels or thinks about annexation. These are the same old tired words and actions we dealt with in 2005-2008. Although the city council and staff are different players, the end result is the same.
I wish to salute the young man who sits on the city council as a student rep, and council woman Megans Bos. They both voted NO on this ordinance. The courage to do the right thing isn’t always easy. They both stated that after hearing the overwhelming public outcry against annexation, they would listen to the will of the people. After all, isn’t that what our democratic process is all about? The will of the people?
Each time the city ups the ante towards pursuing annexation, while being deaf to the majority who oppose it, only creates bitter feelings and a loss and sense of what living in a democratic community means.
Apparently the voice of the people isn’t enough to convince the city to stop pursuing annexation. All of the public comments, public attendance, petitions, polls, and research meant nothing. Just as what happened during the first war on annexation (2005-2008).
Even though we who live in the borough cannot vote for the Soldotna city council, we can vote with our feet and pocket books. Perhaps then they will quit listening to the ring of the cash register, and start listening to the hearts, minds, and souls of the people who choose to live in the borough and this great state, where we still hold on to certain freedoms, and are willing to fight to keep them.