The opposing camps have been chosen, and the decision to change the name of Blaine (or not) may depend on how persuasive the two groups can be.
At their regular meeting July 14, Blaine city councilmembers unanimously approved the appointment of the two three-person committees that will draft the ballot language supporting either side of the question: Should Blaine change its name to Blaine Harbor?
The committee in favor of the name change consists of Paul Schroeder, Trevor Hoskins and Michael Hayden. The committee against consists of Angie Dixon, John Liebert and Colin Hawkins. Each group will draft a 200-word statement explaining why its position is the correct one.
After being reviewed by the county auditor, each statement will be provided to the opposing group to write a 75-word rebuttal. After approval by the county auditor, the statements will be published in the voters pamphlet that is sent to all registered voters in the county.
Then it’s up to Blaine residents to decide for themselves. Only registered voters in Blaine will be able to vote on the measure in the general election November 4.
“The ballot question will be in simple yes-or-no form,” said city manager Dave Wilbrecht.
The supporters of each side attended meetings with city staff the week of July 7 to self-select volunteers for the three-person committees that will prepare the voter statements.
“The committee appointments are final. Each committee can create subcommittees, but the responsibility for making sure the 200-word final piece is accurate ultimately falls on each three-person committee,” Wilbrecht said.
Councilmember Bonnie Onyon asked whether city council would have an opportunity to review the statements, and Wilbrecht responded in the negative.
“Only the county auditor and the county prosecuting attorney will review the statements,” Wilbrecht said.
The city has until Tuesday, August 5 to submit the resolution along with both explanatory statements to the county auditor’s office. All statements become public information five days after the county auditor receives them.