Worcester County’s Question A on the ballot in next Tuesday’s election is a broadly worded, vague and confusing mess.
The vigorous arguments for and against Question A so befuddle the issue that voters may not realize what this referendum actually says and the unintended consequences that could ensue if it does not pass.
Prospective voters may think, as the parties involved in this debate would have it, that Question A concerns whether a sports complex should be built on Route 50 near Berlin.
It doesn’t say that. While that proposal would be affected by whatever voters decide, Question A embraces the entire county and anything that could be viewed as constituting a “sports complex.”
Succinctly put, the ballot question asks voters whether county government should be allowed to use bond money to design and build a “sports complex” of any size, for any use anywhere in the county. It also fails to establish what a “sports complex” is.
Here’s Question A as it appears on the ballot: “The purpose of this question is to determine whether the County Commissioners may finance a portion of the costs of designing and constructing a Worcester County Sports Complex by issuing a bond.”
That begs the question, what is a sports complex? Is it two ballfields, five ballfields, or a gymnasium and no ballfields? Could it be a pair of basketball courts and a swimming pool in Pocomoke? Does it have to entail team sports or could it be some kind of facility, staging area and trail system for cyclists? Who knows?
Further, what is the difference between a “sports complex” and a community-oriented recreational facility? No distinction is made.
Opponents of the Route 50 proposal will insist that their intentions are to get voters to block that one project by asking them to vote “Against” Question A. If that’s all they want then that’s what Question A should say.
It doesn’t, so until the backers of this referendum can specify what they want to accomplish, voters should guard against unintended consequences and vote “For” Question A.