On the far right corner of the Daily Page, Dave Blaska is upset that the Dane County Board hasn't put a referendum on a sales tax to fund the RTA on this year's ballot. In protest, he has targeted the non-binding ballot measure on medicinal marijuana that will appear on the ballot. We should abstain from that question to demonstrate that it is less important than the sales tax issue, he reasons.
But some communities in Dane County will be voting on the RTA anyways. Their local governments approved putting the non-binding question on the ballot, mostly driven by conservative hopes of sending a disapproving message to the County Board.
Dane County Board President and Dane County Executive candidate Scott McDonell called the referendum a "fake," and blamed Tea Party activists for misleading voters on the issue.
Let me be perfectly clear: you should vote no. Or yes. Or skip the question entirely. It doesn't matter, because this referendum is a fake.
It has nothing to do with Regional Transit Authority. A "Yes" vote does not mean rail will be built, and a "No" vote doesn't mean it won't be built. They're playing games with your vote.
The fact that a real referendum on RTA is not on the ballot likely represents a setback for progressives and other public transportation advocates. Mayor Dave may have been telling the truth when he said he believed the RTA should be put to referendum in the fall because there are more voters, but he also knows that it has a better chance of passing now than in the Spring, when a lower turnout could leave the referendum vulnerable to a small but mobilized group of conservative activists.
That is why Mayor Dave, along with many strategically-minded progressives, supports waiting until November 2012 to put the question to the ballot.