It was disappointing to see Washington’s annexation plan go down in defeat in Tuesday’s election. It was proof that if you distort the facts in a constant barrage, some voters will believe the message, or don’t have the vision to value the future.
The city’s plan was reasonable and minor in scope.
Two reactions were prominent. First, it was evident that many of the nonresident voters who were opposed simply didn’t want to pay municipal taxes. The tax increase for them would have been small compared to the benefits. Second, the opposition was able to convince enough residents of the city that their taxes would be increased. The city tried to inform people that no tax increase was planned. The alarm that was created that there would be a tax increase for Washington residents was based on an outright lie!
In any annexation election, there are sympathy votes against the proposal. People in the areas proposed for annexation have friends and relatives in the city who out of friendship vote in opposition.
The majority of cities nationwide have expanded their boundaries. In that respect, Washington is a laggard.
It was disheartening to see and hear hate mongers at work in the campaign. The personal attacks against city personnel weren’t based on annexation, but on what they felt was unfair treatment over issues they had with the city — some of it many years ago. The attacks on the city weren’t justified.
What we have heard from so many people is, if these opponents of the city believe what they are saying, why do they stay here if Washington is so bad? Why don’t they move on and get a life somewhere else?
Unfortunately, an election campaign like the one we just witnessed leaves wounds that only time will heal.