Confusing the issue

Copyright 2005 Ben S. Pollock

Wednesday, May 11, 2005: Morning after a local millage election. The Fayetteville Public Schools lost its request for a property tax increase of 43 mills.

This is one Arkansas town that doesn’t hate tax increases. What was wrong with this one? The things this one would fund were thoroughly discussed in all the local newspapers, and aginners had a chance to speak. One elementary school might get a new gym independently funded after passage.

Neither side, interestingly, did much advertising.

Voters even in this enlightened blue city are not stupid. You, government, want money, then tell us why.

Fayetteville School District administration: You guys blew it. You did not promote this.

At the cheapest, you all obviously did not organize “talking points” to reporters to show how important this was, to children, teachers and community wide. The articles comprised dry lists of benefits from this increase in income: Correspondents used what you gave them. This is called free publicity. Get your act together.

If you want money, you should have spent some (or gotten money from outside, non-profits like PTA or something) to advertise how needed this millage was. Insufficient.

Maybe the little election was a formality, and the money isn’t badly needed. That was the message that came across. -30-

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