Ballot drafters to tackle pros, cons of fairgrounds sale

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City supervisors will likely appoint a new member Thursday to a committee charged with drafting language for a ballot question.

With two conflicting questions over the future of the city's fairgrounds up for a vote on the November ballot, city supervisors have pledged to prepare both questions.

The committees are working on arguments for and against the city's proposed advisory question, and will then turn to writing the arguments for the initiative petition question. John Utt will not serve on the second committee, and John Wagner is the only other person to apply for the slot.

Wayne Pedlar said he, Karl Neathammer and John Utt, the committee arguing for the city's question, have focused their arguments on what the sale of the fairgrounds would mean economically to the community.

Without the property's commercial development, "there certainly exists the fact that property taxes will have to go up," he said.

Jeanne Yaple said she, Michael Hoffman and Jon Nowlin, the committee arguing against the advisory question, note in their argument the sweat equity since the 1960s that went into construction of the fairgrounds as well as the significance of the approval of Question 18 in 1996, which directed city leaders to "buy parks, not sell parks.'

Clerk Alan Glover said the exact language of the 400-word arguments won't be released until both committees have a chance to write their 200-word rebuttals.

The committees should wrap up their work around May 30.

The city is challenging the validity of the initiative petition question championed by the Concerned Citizen's to Save Fuji Park and the Fairgrounds and supported by 3,400 voters. However, Judge Michael Griffin ordered the question on the ballot, and city leaders are appealing the decision to the state Supreme Court.

The Concerned Citizen's question asks for Fuji Park and the Fairgrounds to be "maintained and improved ... in perpetuity." The city's advisory question asks while committing to improve Fuji Park, should the city commercially develop the fairgrounds?


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