I hope we can agree to disagree

We are in the process of forming opinions about two school bonds in Cassia and Minidoka Counties. Unless you have been living under a mushroom, you will certainly have been exposed to a bunch of data, news stories, neighbor conversations, yard signs and other information from parties hoping the bonds pass or hoping they do not.

I should point out that it is illegal for either school district to tell you how you should vote. It is within the law for them to post when the vote takes place and even encourage you to vote, but the districts cannot tell you to vote “YES” on the ballot. If this is the case, which it is, who in the world is paying for all the other publicity you have been bombarded with?

In Cassia County the answer is simple – there is a committee of private individuals who are operating under the banner “Yes for Cassia County Schools, S. Matthew Cook Treasurer,” who are paying for the publicity. As an independent group with no direct ties to the school district, they are able to encourage you to vote YES on the bond. One could speculate on the source of the money they are spending but in the end it doesn’t really matter. Those who have put in money, time, energy, and other resources believe in what they are doing, and they are backing it up.

I have seen more polarity in opinions with this round of voting than I can remember ever happening. Minidoka County is blessed with the fact that they are a smaller district with regards to physical facilities and the result is that they don’t need as much money to accomplish their goals. Cassia County schools are so much bigger with twice as many buildings to repair, maintain and improve.

In speaking with a group of long-time Cassia County residents I am hearing more negativity than I am used to hearing. One man prefaced his comments with “I have always supported the school district . . . . . . . .”  which is followed by a string of frustrating language that deals with the reasons he is going to change the way he votes this time around. I happen to disagree with him on the matter, but I am grateful that he and I can agree to disagree. How terrible would life be if we fell out every time we disagreed on an issue? I can’t imagine it to be a very good place to be if I was always losing friends when our votes didn’t match up.

One group I associate with includes at least one Democrat who is capable of expressing his disagreement with the Republicans in the room. There are times that I feel I should fall out of the Republican Party if only to even the odds, but even when there is room to agree the two points of thought are just too far apart for me to make the switch.

Perhaps to help minimize the fury between the different philosophical points of view, our Democrat has offered up his beard if certain political events come to pass. For the life of me I just can’t remember him shaving his beard but if he has I can only say that it grows back faster than Trump’s follies, which allow him to keep his facial hair.

I enjoy a good debate and that’s probably why I don’t take offense to the position others take in contrary to my line of thinking. I would hate to associate with a group who never disagreed about a topic. It would be about as interesting as watching paint dry.

I don’t fully understand why a school bond vote brings out extreme emotions in people. Maybe it is akin to a teenager constantly asking his parents for money. One day it’s for gas, the next day it’s for admission to the movie. The third day it might be for a burger and a drink down at the DQ or maybe he needs money for something you don’t agree with him purchasing. After a while it would get old and frankly at some point you would have to say ENOUGH!

When it comes to physical facilities, we are the school’s financial sponsor. A school district cannot buy something unless it is by way of an approved budget. It is essentially a dependent – not so unlike that teenager that constantly needs a little extra money. There are many opinions about what is a need and what is a want and depending on who you talk with you will either agree to disagree or you’ll have a falling out, which at the polls is a no vote.

A citizen that owns multiple properties will face an increased burden if a school bond passes. My wife and I have a few rental properties and when I did the math, I discovered an increase in Cassia County property tax of $710 per year. If the bond passes in Minidoka County that number will go up because we have property there as well. Even so, we will be voting in favor of the 56.7-million-dollar bond. A friend of mine owns ten times more property than I do, which means his tax burden could be $7,000 per month in increased tax. I understand why it would be hard for him to be anything but critical of what the district is asking us to support because it can get expensive if you own property.

My hope is that you not have a falling out with your friends and neighbors if they happen to vote differently than you will vote. The one best way to have your voice heard is to show up to the polls on March 12. If you don’t vote, don’t complain. If the vote goes opposite than the way you wanted give yourself a few minutes to say “damn” then get on with your life.


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