The new City Hall is an important project for Juneau. In plain English, the current facility is crappy and embarrassing. When we visit our local government, for a meeting with officials, to look up information about our houses, to get a permit, or pay a bill, it should be a decent building that makes us feel proud to live here. Also, having different departments scattered among four different rented spaces outside the main building is inefficient and wasteful — and it keeps property out of the private market.
Opponents try to couch their opposition in “common sense.” But it really boils down to the idea that government workers don’t deserve nice things. And that comes from a theme, pushed by certain conservative groups since Reagan, that public employees are somehow an interest group of their own, that exists not to perform essential services that benefit us all, but rather to enrich their own needs against those of “real workers” and citizens.
Like other divisive social issues, this is nonsense, and it is done on purpose to distract us, to keep people angry enough they don’t notice the real issues.
The new City Hall is affordable and will make Juneau run better, for decades to come. The only people who benefit from a weak, dysfunctional government are the self-interested and cynical who want a world safe from the tyranny of taxes, labor rights, and environmental protection. Don’t give in to the hostile rhetoric. Just vote yes.