Who do our representatives serve?

In a city that houses the fourth largest manufacturing complex in the United States, our Kent City Council would have us all believe that it's the garbage trucks that are ravaging our roads – and not the overwhelming number of huge, lumbering 16- and 18-wheelers used by the Valley's businesses.

In a city that houses the fourth largest manufacturing complex in the United States, our Kent City Council would have us all believe that it’s the garbage trucks that are ravaging our roads – and not the overwhelming number of huge, lumbering 16- and 18-wheelers used by the Valley’s businesses.

So, the council wrangled a tax on our garbage bill with the excuse that the garbage trucks are to blame for the sorry condition of our streets and roads.

The council will do anything to avoid 1, chasing down the businesses that aren’t paying their business and occupation (B&O) taxes; 2, eliminating some of the loopholes and exemptions to the tax, and 3, expanding the tax to ensure that these businesses pay to repair the damage they are directly responsible for causing.

Now the council wants to assess property owners an additional 5 percent tax (while they continue to subsidize the monstrous money-loser that is the ShoWare Center). The council has taken pandering to the Chamber of Commerce to a new, all-time high. (Council President) Dana Ralph is the cheerleader and mother bear protecting Kent businesses from anything that even slightly resembles a tax that rightfully places the responsibility for road repair at the feet of those responsible.

So – where are the outraged citizenry who are sick of having their homes used as an ATM by a small group of people who are championing their own special interests and those of the local Chamber of Commerce? Is it only business owners who deserve fair treatment and representation? Have the council members such disdain for Kent homeowners that they feel no compunction about continuing to finance road and street repair off the backs of the middle class?

It’s so patently clear that the heavy commercial trucks have always been the cause of expensive road repair in the Valley.

So, why aren’t the citizens of Kent pushing back against the special interests that exploit us? If apathy is the cause for silence, then the citizenry deserves the kind of lousy government they get. Citizens have the real power, but it they choose not to use it, then the money, power, and influence of corporations rule. Don’t be intimidated. You are only powerless if you let yourself be.

You have a voice. Tell the council that they cannot work around our vote and just impose taxes on us willy nilly. They must figure that if we won’t give them permission by our vote, then they will just take our money any way they can. Council members can be voted out if they don’t represent our interests. And clearly, this council does not. You decide. Speak out.

– Sandra Gill

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