Déjà vous: It’s “Smokes for Votes” all over again!
So why is our Elmbrook School District mulling over the possibility of plying you with pancakes or pasta? Or serving cheese and crackers or doughnuts and coffee? Because they are hoping to influence you to vote yes for their $108,800,000.00 referendums.
The very act of breaking bread together is compelling. Why do you think salesmen wine and dine potential clients? Why do you think businesses supply the free lunch or treats on certain days for their customers? (This is common in the trades—electrical, plumbing, or tool suppliers etc.) They are hoping the customer will feel a little cheap coming into their business to eat their free fare and then leave without placing an order. Only a real cheapskate would come in and do that!
There is a certain portion of the population that may feel sheepish about coming to the school district’s Saturday Soirees too--especially if they are undecided. I am guessing the district is hoping, like the tradesman eating the supplier’s free lunch and then feeling obligated to make a purchase, the diners might be influenced to vote yes for the referendum.
According to the Journal article, “Referendum opponent Jon Wolff said, ‘They should not be spending taxpayer dollars to do it (meals)’.” Good point. The district is not to overtly promote the yes vote, just present the facts. They have a budget of $49,000 to do just that. The $49,000 is our taxpayer money! (Is it any wonder we never have enough money to properly maintain our buildings?) If influencing voters is not the motivation for the free meal or snack, then why have any food or refreshments at all? It is not like voters will be there all day.
“Smokes for Votes” was a black eye on Milwaukee. Pretending that a free meal or snack is not meant to influence voters does not speak well of our school district either.