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Democratic process is not ludicrous

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2000

With regard to Jack Cadigan's letter to the editor discussing the peace and quiet initiative, I found Mr. Cadigan's logic to be ``ludicrous'' - not the initiative itself. He may be a longtime resident, but he doesn't seem to understand how petitions by the people are supposed to work.

Mr. Cadigan states, ``While I agree that the wishes of the minority of citizens should be able to be heard, a group of only five persons being able to get a ballot initiative going seems ludicrous.'' Aren't five citizens a minority? Where do you draw the line between a number that fills your definition of a minority and one that is too small to have the priviledge of filing a petition? Is it ten, twenty or a hundred?

I suspect that most initiatives are started by a very small number of people. Those people feel strongly about an issue and go out to gather signatures in support of the issue. During the signature-gathering phase, the number of people supporting the initiative either grows, or the initiative dies on the vine. If enough signatures are gathered, the initiative is placed on the ballot for consideration by a wider audience, i.e., the voting public. If enough voters support the initiative at the ballot box, the ballot issue passes. If not, the issue fades into obscurity. That is the way the democratic process works and there is nothing ludicrous about it.

In the same issue of the Empire, Kathleen Bailey presents a much more balanced view of the tourism issue. Kathleen asks the question, ``Why is an often-expressed desire on the part of many Juneau citizens for reducing the impact of cruise ship tourism automatically heard as anti-tourism sentiment?'' As the impact of tourism grows, every Juneauite should be asking him/herself the question; how much of our fundamental quality of life are we willing to sacrifice for the almighty tourist dollar?

Any rational person knows what tourism means to this town, but when is enough, too much?

Everett HinkleyJuneau



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