WOOD RIVER - Last night the Wood River City Council demonstrated that is has not learned from the mistakes it made when it approved a $12 million rec center against voter wishes. When given the opportunity to begin the healing process after this divisive decision, instead the council turned its back on voters once again.

Bill DettmersIn the meeting last night, the council refused to consider a motion that would have given voters the right to determine if they wanted a cannabis dispensary and whether it should be located downtown or in another location. Instead, the council demonstrated that it believes it knows what is best for the city. This is in spite of the fact that the city did not consult with many of the existing downtown businesses who are rightfully concerned what impact a cannabis dispensary in downtown may have on their business. Many residents have expressed concerns with a cannabis dispensary in Wood River. Most comments I have seen are critical that the city wants a cannabis dispensary in downtown. In my opinion this is an open question that should be resolved by the voters, but it is obvious that this council doesn’t care what voters want.

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The issue of the cannabis dispensary has not been finalized, so this matter may still be resolved by the voters in the April 4th election. The new council that will be sworn in on May 1st can still give voters a voice in determining the future of Wood River.

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There are five candidates running for City Council in this election. Last night, one was involved in the decision not to allow voters a voice on the cannabis dispensary and its location. Two other candidates spoke in favor of ignoring the voters and the concerns of local businesses. In fact, one candidate claimed, “A vote for a public referendum is treading in muddy waters.” I find it hard to believe that any candidate thinks that seeking input from voters is a bad idea and is considered an attempt to “muddy waters”.

If Wood River wants to turn the page on council members that continually fail to listen and make bad, costly decisions against voter wishes, then each voter must take the time to carefully examine each candidate. There are five candidates for office. Three are clearly aligned with the same position, the same mentality of the “Rec”-less 3 that gave us a $12 million rec center against our wishes. There are only two candidates that have the experience to lead Wood River through the difficult times ahead and the willingness to listen to the voters. It is up to the voters to select the right two for Wood River City Council.

Bill Dettmers

Candidate, Wood River City Council

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