Bond elections make Nov. 4 even more of a contest

08/13/2014 5:38 PM

08/13/2014 5:40 PM

More battle lines are being drawn for Nov. 4 elections, adding to an already tense campaign season for offices including governor, lieutenant governor and Tarrant County’s key race for state Senate District 10.

Now being added are local bond elections that could turn out to be just as hard-fought as the political races launched months ago.

The Keller school district’s $169.5 bond election is shaping up as a model of the current political landscape.

Arlington has called a four-part, $236 million election on a list of infrastructure improvements.

Fort Worth has scheduled a vote on user fees to finance half the cost of a $450 million, 14,000-seat multipurpose arena in the Cultural District. Private dollars are expected to pay the rest.

Local governments have until Monday to call elections for Nov. 4.

“We did a survey a few weeks ago, and the response showed the vote today would be close,” Keller Superintendent Randy Reid has said.

What makes it close is that some voters are not in any mood to approve any additional debt, at any level of government, anywhere, for any purpose.

“This is not a good time to have a bond election and expect it to pass, in my opinion,” Keller district Trustee Brad Schofield told other school board members Tuesday.

Schofield and trustee JoLynn Haussman wanted to delay the election until May, but they ended up being part of a unanimous decision setting it for Nov. 4.

The races for political offices are expected to draw a large turnout, which could be why some local officials want to get bond measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.

People who oppose local bond spending typically are motivated to vote no matter what the timing. Others coming to the polls for the political races might be inclined to vote for the bonds.

But that’s traditional thinking. Bond opponents, including many with Tea Party connections who are very strong in the Keller area, are intent on conveying the anti-debt message.

Those who believe the bond projects are needed will have to make sure their message is just as strong.

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