We all know the “Dummies” reference guides with their familiar yellow and black covers and triangle-headed cartoon figure. Auto Repair for Dummies. Guitar for Dummies. Internet for Dummies. And so on. This lighthearted instructional series breaks down intimidating topics into layman’s terms that make even a knucklehead like me feel smart.
Well, last week I wasn’t feeling so smart after attempting to wade through my recently arrived 35-page ballot question pamphlet. Really? It takes 15,000 words to explain the pros and cons of a few questions? “Where’s my Voting for Dummies digest?” I thought. “Where’s my Ballots for Boneheads cheat sheet?”
Then it struck me that maybe I’m not the only intimidated voter. So, whether you’re new to the area or just a simpleton like me, what follows is my feeble “Elections Made Easy” attempt to break down Boulder City’s three ballot questions to their bare essence in 600 words or less.
Question 1: Sell 16 acres of city-owned land for development of a grocery store and other retail uses, then use the money generated for capital projects like streets, trails, public safety facilities, historic preservation and Elaine K. Smith Building upgrades? Vote “yes” if you don’t like our single grocery store monopoly and instead want to foster competition that might drive prices down and provide more diverse retail shopping options. Vote “no” if you’re concerned that a few more retail competitors might hurt our existing businesses too much.
Vote “yes” if you believe another grocery store and a few more retail and service businesses will be a nice addition to the existing business corridor at our town entrance near Veterans Memorial Drive. Vote “no” if you think that a potential second grocery store is a poor excuse for another strip mall, that we’ve already proven over the last seven years that there’s just not a sufficient market for a second grocer given our static, small-town population, or that the city should just wait for a better use of that land.
Vote “yes” if you believe the listed capital projects are important but want sales revenue socked away to pay for those projects before we start them. Vote “no” if you believe the city should instead maintain control of that prime real estate and try to generate income over time by playing landlord and leasing it.
Question 2: Add natural gas generation and clean energy technologies to the list of permissible uses within the Eldorado Valley Transfer Area. Vote “yes” if you’re OK with the current EVTA natural gas generation facility that generates $1.275 million in annual lease revenue and want the city to continue having the right to lease for those or similar purposes once the existing “grandfathered” right expires. Vote “no” if you don’t think such a use is appropriate, don’t think the revenue is essential to fund city operations and keep property taxes low, or believe EVTA land could readily generate comparable or greater revenue in other, more palatable ways.
Vote “yes” if you think natural gas generation and clean energy technologies like battery energy storage, carbon capture, and clean hydrogen are safe and compatible with existing EVTA uses including solar energy and recreation. Vote “no” if you don’t.
Question 3: Spend up to $7 million from the capital improvement fund to improve public safety facilities, including constructing a new police station and a new training facility at the fire station? Vote “yes” if you believe the existing police station is too old, outdated, unsafe or otherwise insufficient to support our growing police force’s needs. Vote “yes” if you believe that it’s high time for a new police facility rather than continuing to Band-Aid its deficient and deteriorating conditions, including those related to technology, dispatch services, heating, venting and air conditioning, secure parking, and available space. Vote “no” if you think the existing police station with periodic upgrades is adequate and that our police should just “make do” with what they have.
Vote “yes” if you believe our firefighters need an on-site training facility to facilitate optimal on-the-job skills and readiness training instead of being forced to train sporadically at distant facilities during off-duty hours. Vote “no” if you think giving our firefighters overtime pay to train elsewhere is an acceptable compromise, especially since it’s a much cheaper alternative.
There you have it — my ballots for birdbrains crib sheet. And I still have 50 words left to give you more dummy advice. So, what about the candidates? Are you happy with the last three years of city governance? If so, vote for the incumbent. If not, vote for the challenger.
Now that’s smart advice that even a dum-dum dummy like me can understand.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
Rod Woodbury has resided in Boulder City for more than 40 years and is the president and managing shareholder of his law firm, Woodbury Law. He served on the City Council from 2011- 2019, including four years as mayor.