Only 15.5% of Mitchell’s electorate voted yesterday in favor of building an $8-million indoor pool. But since only 28.5% of Mitchell’s electorate came to the polls, that was enough to pass the pool with a 54.3% majority.
(28.5% turnout… Hey, Aberdeen! Can we beat that next week for our big library bond vote on Tuesday?)
Conservative Mitchell contrarian Steve Sibson, who gathered signatures to refer the pool to a public vote, warns his neighbors of the moral burden they now bear:
“The 1,440 that voted in favor have to deal with the moral issue of expecting people who are not in favor to help pay for something that they don’t want to pay for themselves,” Sibson said [Evan Hendershot, “$8 Million Aquatics Facility Approved by Mitchell Voters,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2015.12.08].
Hold that thought, Sibby.
While Mitchell’s general electorate was getting ready to take a swim, the City Council was throwing the separation of church and state into Lake Mitchell. On Monday, councilors voted 7–1 to display “In God We Trust” in the council chambers. The lone dissent came from hero of reason and constitutional law Mel Olson, who spoke up in front of a number of religious leaders to say that divisive motto does not belong in public office:
“On a day when religious intolerance has been expressed by people running for the highest office in the land, I just don’t think that we should take an action that could be viewed by people who do not share our religious beliefs as an action of intolerance,” Olson said.
…“As the mayor pointed out, we already pledge, we already pray, it makes me wonder if in fact we’re insecure of our religious beliefs that we have to say it over and over again,” Olson said [Evan Hendershot, “Council Approves Display of Motto ‘In God We Trust’,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2015.12.08].
Olson ran into a wall of insensitive Dominionist aggression from council president Jeff Smith (after the meeting):
“It seems as though the minority tends to be loud and get their message out, so now I think it’s time for the majority to start stepping forward and relaying what they believe in,” Smith said about what he believes to be Mitchell’s religious majority [Hendershot, “Council…” 2015.12.08].
…insensitive nonsense from Baptist preacher Ben Payne:
“If we are people concerned about offense when we’re leading, we run into a situation where we never accomplish anything of consequence,” Payne said [Hendershot, “Council…” 2015.12.08].
…and insensitive cluelessness from freshman mayor Jerry Toomey:
When asked if he considered how secular Mitchell residents might react to the new display in Council Chambers, Toomey was not concerned.
“If they see a sign on the wall, don’t look at it, I guess,” Toomey said [Hendershot, “Council…” 2015.12.08].
Mitchell neighbors, Mayor Toomey has opened the door for you to attend city council meetings with all the offensive signs you can carry. If Mayor Toomey is offended, he can just not look at it.
Sure, Jerry, we can just not look at your little sign, but are you going to allow taxpayers to not pay for the city property on which you are trying to establish your religion?