History of Public Land Sales Shows Voter Responses

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Friday, March 13, 2015, 1:00 pm
Alice Dreger

On May 5, East Lansing voters will decide whether to vote to change the City Charter’s rule on the sale of public lands. As ELi has reported, the most important effect of this would be to lower the voter approval threshold for the sale of public lands. Public lands, including parks, now require a 60% voter approval over a specified minimum dollar value. If the charter amendment passes, only 50% + 1 vote on the “yes” side will be required for approval of public lands over a specified minimum dollar value, adjusted each year for inflation.

Advocates of the charter amendment have noted that the last several votes on land sales have failed, sometimes by a small margin. To find out more about the history of land sale votes in East Lansing, I asked City Clerk Marie Wicks for data about votes on land sales going back several years.

Below you see the data exactly as provided by Wicks. The data shows that if the threshold had been 50%, all of these land sales would have passed. It also shows that from 2002 to 2006, there were three land sales that passed the 60% threshold.

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