Page 5 of 22 Aug 1976 Issue of Dubuque Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa

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Dubuque Telegraph Herald (Newspaper) - August 22, 1976, Dubuque, Iowa I solid bastions of a by a a Quot motors i j i i somewhat Strong precincts Middle of the Road precincts i somewhat Strong Quot not precincts i i solid bastions of a a not voters kid highest percentages of a a yes votes a. I i next highest a a yes percentages a Middle of the Road precincts f i relatively weaker five flags support n j i j weakest support voting fronds for All Bond issues 1072-1976 since City precincts last were re distracted in 1972, patterns of Strong and weak support have characterized All City county and school referendums strength of support in tues Day Salvo flags of Locklon tuesday s referendum confirmed support patterns established in Bond votes of recent years but precincts like the fourth and 20th delivered less relative support than in past elections profile of Dubuque a 25 precincts of anything this analysis shows that voters can he feisty on a Given Day hut in the Long run they re becoming rather by John Mccormick Telegraph Herald staff writer Dubuqu ers rewrote three lessons of history tuesday when their five flags referendum became the costliest municipal Bond Issue Ever approved. But in other ways tuesdays $3.7-million commitment fell right in step with a voting heritage built during the last decade. These conclusions Stem from analysis of City precinct voting results in every municipal county and school Bond referendum since the first City county building proposal was trampled to years ago. If anything this analysis shows that voters can be feisty on a Given Day but in the Long run they re becoming rather predictable. The three factors that separated tuesdays election from the 17 other Bond issues in the past decade Are easy to spot a first Dubuqu ers never have encountered a Bond proposal that was so much More expensive then a similar proposal that they a Defeated earlier. This time the Cost jumped almost 50 per cent above the five flags plan rejected in 1974. A secondly voter turnout in City precincts almost always dips when a Bond proposal surfaces a second time. This time turnout jumped from 24 per cent of registered voters in 1974 to 32 per cent tuesday. A finally the percentage of a a yes votes usually increases by less than to percentage Points when a Defeated Issue is resurrected. This time the percentage of a a yes votes leaped from 44 to 70, comfortably above the 60-per-cent mandate required for Bond issues by Iowa Law. The roster of Bond issues since 1966 is Replete with repeater issues but none has enjoyed such an emphatic voter turnaround As the rewritten five flags plan. Voters nixed two proposals to build combined City county government facilities 1966 and 1968 they rejected and later approved construction of a City county Law enforcement Center 1970 and 1972 City voters said they did no to want either of two plans for a new Junior High school in the Dubuque Community school District 1974 and 1975 and they rejected two plans for a City fire Headquarters both in 1967 before a third proposal crept to Victory in 1968. But if tuesdays vote spoiled some trends those earlier elections had established it also showed that much of Dubuque a voting behaviour Falls into patterns. A first the turnout of Dubuque voters increases As the Cost of a proposal increases. A table comparing turnout with costs during the past 17 issues would have estimated tuesdays turnout at about 33 per cent. Actually it was 32 per cent. A secondly there appears to be no relationship Between High turnout and High voter approval. High turnouts have killed As Many Bond issues As they be helped. A tuesdays five flags vote is another dramatic indication that the Cost of an Issue does no to determine the final outcome. The percentage of a a yes voters has darted up and Down in past referendums with Little regard to the size of resulting tax bites. A North end precincts excluding the fourth Christensen s greenhouse traditionally give Bond issues the weakest support and that pattern is emphatic. Strongest support usually comes from Dubuque a far West and South ends plus a Hill District neighbourhood entered on West third Street precinct to. Still both five flags referendums got comparatively lukewarm support from the fourth and 20th Hempstead High school precincts. In most other elections these have been bastions of a a yes votes in relation to the rest of the City. A Southern and Western portions of Dubuque usually have the highest voter turnouts much lower turnouts come from downtown and Northeast precincts. Specifically the 13th Washington Junior high17th senior High and 19th Kennedy school precincts have produced the most voters since precincts last were re distracted in 1972. And they had the three highest turnouts tuesday. Turnouts were lowest in the second courthouse sixth Fulton school seventh Audubon school eighth 18th Street fire station and ninth meat cutters Hall precincts. What emerges from All of this is a picture of Dubuque a 25 precincts standing in line up and Down a football Field. Toward the right stand precincts Likely to support Bond issues toward the left stand precincts that tend to reject Bond issues. In an election like tuesdays those precincts All troop to the right and the Issue passes in an election like the 1974 five flags proposal they All troop left and the Issue loses. The Crux is this although the final outcome changes from election to election those 25 precincts generally stand in the same position in relation to one another. There Are Subtle shifts a and sometimes Radical changes if a Bond Issue would especially Benefit one geographic area a but the lineup stays fairly intact As the whole roster slides up and Down the . Whatever pushed that roster in an unprecedented charge to the right and whatever got a heavy turnout of 11 Usu voters to Sanction a higher priced project than the first five flags proposal. Is a matter of conjecture the numbers done to really help. Perhaps the second proposal satisfied earlier complaints that a Large sports concert and convention Arena had to be part of the plan. Perhaps generally favourable economic changes since 1974 made the difference. Perhaps Dubuqu ers Are sick and tired of a Southern Urban renewal Belt that looks like land Bank farm acreage awaiting the arrival of cattle herds or a Federal forestry Grant or perhaps the Victory came from a shrewd Low profile Campaign that spent less than $1,000 on mass Media advertising kept the City a arts establishment in the background and made personal contacts with every local group from Packer pals to women of the Moose. Its doubtful that All 7,678 Quot yes voters tuesday thought that a i Ive hags civic Center Complex was needed As badly As a West Side fire station in 1967 or a county care facility in 1976 a both of which also passed there is some feeling that the recent Trumph of Quot get the Lead out in the renovated five flags theater made tuesdays referendum the Only Dubuque election Ever won by a musical. Five flags volunteers also made selective pitches to both Young and elderly voters a groups that might especially use the Complex for plays sporting events and concerts. And an aggressive postcard and Telephone Campaign to identify Likely Quot yes Quot voters and get out their vote probably helped As Well. But for All of its eccentricities voting behaviour tuesday further cemented some established traditions in Dubuque Bond elections. Once sacred factors like weather and Blanket Media endorsements seem to have made Little difference during the past decade at Best they May affect turnout but nothing suggests that they inherently alter final outcomes. What does make the difference is an intangible mixture of strategy and the voting Public a need for each individual project those two elements keep Bond Issue votes from being too predictable. All of that May seem rather obvious but it s crucial to the folks who propose and oppose referendums. Even with the High turnout and landslide approval that characterized tuesday s election the 7,678 voters who said a a yes constitute less than an eighth of Dubuque s total population that fraction committed Dubuque to its biggest municipal Bond Issue Ever Well above the previous High of $2 million set april 6, 1955, when voters approved development of Industrial Park along present Day Kerper Boulevard. This article was written from research compiled by Telegraph Herald assistant librarian Damon Darlin and computed by John Martin manager of data systems for Telegraph Herald inc conclusions were drawn from voting patterns exhibited by Dubuque voters in All Bond Issue referendums of the last to years Only votes in City precincts were included for those county or school District elections that included precincts outside Dubuque this method allows voting patterns in municipal county and school elections to be considered equally

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