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Legally, Gainesville can annex these island properties, its reasoning for annexation being more control to unify zoning; this makes sense.
Hall County is concerned that annexation might occur without the owners' consent as well as the county losing tax income. These are legitimate concerns.
The owners and tenants of properties in these islands are worried about increased taxes and not aware of any advantages. That's another legitimate concern in the mix.
The city states its annexing is not for the purpose of tax income but for zoning unity. In fairness, it wants all involved to agree on the annexation. The most visible objection to annexation is anticipated unfairness to the tenants. This goes beyond those persons directly involved.
With a bit of professional mediation, a solution meeting everyone's approval is possible.
The city should peg the taxes so those tenants involved would not have a price jump to city taxes, but instead have an arrangement for tax parity for a number of years, including the value of services provided by the city rather than those now provided by Hall County. This will minimize concern over fairness.
Hall County's objections would be mollified as the city would share the income from taxes. For the city, there would be less confusion about zoning controls. The tenants would not experience a city tax increase and gain improved services if needed at low city rates.
Note: A mediator facilitates discussion but does not decide the outcome as does an arbitrator.
Democrats shouldn't give up on public health plan option
I hope the Democrats will not allow misinformation and partisan politics to kill the public option. The most recent polls show that once people get past the myths, they're far more supportive.
The president and Congress need to look beyond current public opinion, which will change as the economy recovers and the truth about health care becomes more obvious, and do what's best for the country.
Negative public opinion has bottomed out just like the recession. A majority of Americans will come on board over the next 12 months if given the chance.
Also, if the Democrats want Catholics and the religious right to be more supportive, they need to state more clearly that the public option will not pay for abortions, which it won't.