ARC sinks under voter displeasure

I awoke this morning to some distressing news.

Amarillo voters rejected a worthy bond issue that would have enhanced greatly the quality of life in their fair city.

The Amarillo Recreational Complex failed by a 54-46 percent margin. It would have cost around $31 million to build this complex, which would have comprised a comprehensive array of amenities for citizens young and old to enjoy. It would have included outdoor ball fields, indoor swimming, basketball, tennis and swimming centers … heck, I can’t even think of all the things it would have entailed.

A citizens committee had been beating the bushes raising money to offset the public tax burden, hoping to raise about $6 million from private donations. Spokesmen for the committee had made the case — or so I thought — that the ARC would be a good investment for residents to make.

What’s more, it’s not as if the city has been spending money like mad on parks. The last municipal parks bond issue was approved in 1972. That’s 41 years ago, for crying out loud.

Silly me. I didn’t realize small-mindedness still had such a grip on Amarillo voters.

Speaking of voters, I hasten to note that of the nearly 100,000 residents who were eligible to vote, only about 15 percent of them actually cast ballots … which means that a tiny majority of the voting public decided this important ballot measure.

I am a sad man this morning.

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