By Peter Zuyus
Thank you assembly members Kelly Wolf, Wayne Ogle, Dale Bagley, Charlie Pierce and Sue McClure for your vote against Ordinance 2013-36, that would have raised taxes on about 20 percent of Kenai Peninsula Borough seniors.
Your votes were a significant step in protecting senior benefits and rights that some of your fellow assembly members want to reduce or eliminate.
During my short, but active, involvement in defeating this ordinance, I have learned much about the attitudes, beliefs and positions of most assembly members in regard to senior issues. Some of it was surprising, some heartwarming and some frightening.
From anti-senior comments such as, “this ordinance has nothing to do with money, it is about principle; seniors need to pay more” to “We must support the seniors of the borough, many of us always have, and I believe we should continue.”
Mayor Navarre, who will run for re-election, supported raising taxes on seniors, stating that senior benefits should be reviewed as there are too many seniors, and the population of seniors is growing. Obviously that is a politically calculated statement he felt was necessary in an election year.
A mixture of arrogance, disdain, jealousy and disregard for seniors came through. Rather than point at specific assembly members, suffice it to say, all wanting to take benefits from seniors are “termed out” as they put it.
Let’s just take a look:
Disdain: Get even for term limits
Arrogance: I can do whatever I want with no recourse (termed out)
Jealousy: Jealous of some seniors
Disregard: Seniors already have too many benefits, we will just take some back.
The good news is, assembly members and the mayor are on the record for supporting or not supporting seniors. All the political correctness and political rhetoric in the world cannot change the facts.
Where do seniors go from here?
Forward – to insist that all assembly members and future mayors support and honor senior citizens’ rights and benefits.
How do we do it?
We vote. We make it known that our vote will go to those who support seniors, period.
In the last mayoral election, Mayor Navarre was elected with only 9 percent of registered voters voting for him; hardly a mandate. Seniors represent 22 percent of registered voters on in the borough. We can make a difference, and we should make a difference at both the assembly and mayoral level.
Seniors should not let themselves be quieted with political correctness or political rhetoric.
We can demand yes or no answers to our questions, allowing for no gray areas. That’s quite a challenge for politicians.
Mayor Navarre said the senior population is growing and their benefits should be reviewed for reduction. He has staked out his position on seniors in the upcoming election.
Seniors look forward to seeing how other mayoral candidates view the seniors of the borough.
The vote tally and more commentary can be found at www.kpbseniors.com.
Thank you again to all who supported Kenai Peninsula Borough seniors.
Peter Zuyus is a Homer area resident and former telecommunications executive.
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