Yesterday I attended the League of Women Voters forum for the candidates for the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District. The candidates are running for one of three openings on the Board and will be elected on May 3. The winning candidates will likely be elected by less than 2,000 people out of the more than 155,000 people living in the district. The board manages more than $50 million of taxpayer money each year and are elected by less than 2% of the people living in the district. Is this what democracy looks like?
One of the questions posed to the candidates was about mailing ballots to all registered voters in the district. The incumbents responded that the cost to mail out ballots would be more than $500,000 and that was too expensive. $500,000 is less than 1% of a $50 million dollar budget. It’s even less than the percentage of people voting in the board election.
Even if I agreed that $500,000 was too much to spend on the election, there is a serious engagement problem when so few taxpayers get to vote for a board that gets to spend so much taxpayer money. I encourage all your readers to visit, ssprd.org/board-election, and request their absentee ballot before April 26. It’s the only way they can participate in this exclusive election and have a say in how their tax dollars are spent.
Amy S. Conklin