To the Editor:
The recent victory in the defeat of the proposed Business Improvement District in the Village of Lake George is significant because the entire process for its approval was a stacked deck.
The committee was hand-picked by the mayor, not by the business community as BIDs were designed, guaranteeing a “Yes” vote of the committee.
Mayor Blais was quoted in the Post-Star as saying 110 votes were needed to pass the BID proposition. After four tries, everyone, including himself, knew that exempt properties don’t count and the real number of properties in the proposed district, in fact, was 74. Blais later stated that after calling the Conference of Mayors, that indeed, exempt properties don’t count. When you’re the mayor of a tiny village who knows these things well after four attempts at a BID, to say otherwise is ingenious.
The vote was conveniently scheduled for the dead of winter when many owners are away or cannot be reached. This gave a decided advantage to the pro-BID group.
To vote “No” on the proposition, a property owner had to identify himself as a “No” vote which carries the fear, real or imagined, of reprisal from the powers that be.
In order to vote, the ballot required a notarized signature. This was yet another impediment for the voter on the way to the ballot box.
When the major was asked at the public hearing on Dec. 4 by business owner John Carr if ballots would be mailed to all potential voters, mayor Blais said No they would not, citing expense as the reason. Carr said that he would reimburse the Village for postage and envelopes at his expense but the answer was still No. Apparently an informed voter is to be avoided.
The last day when ballots could be counted was Jan. 6. The BID voting website was taken down before Jan. 6, making it impossible for someone who wished to vote on the last day by downloading a ballot. This of course aided the pro-BID initiative. Thanks to the business voters who despite the roadblocks to the polls and the crony committee, chose to stand up, be identified and say No, the BID was defeated. Imagine what the tally would have been with full disclosure and a level playing field.