Petition decision has some upset

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

The Brookings City Council has agreed to earmark a minimum of $35,000 to SDSU for promotional use. However, this decision doesn’t make everyone happy.

Eric Novotny, a senior philosophy and religion major, is protesting against the Third B tax, an extra one percent tax on bread, board and booze. He feels that the Students’ Association (SA) should have turned in the petition they took out to refer the Third B to a vote instead of holding back the signatures in an exchange for $35,000.

Novotny said the tax should be voted on.

“If you want to enact it, it should be taken to a vote,” he said. “If it is a good tax, it will pass.”

He said that he doesn’t think the tax itself is wrong, but he believes people should have the right to vote on the matter.

“I don’t care about the money, I care about the method it was passed,” he said.

But according to the council’s charter, a vote was not required. Novotny said he was told by Brookings Mayor Scott Munsterman that the council changed the charter three years ago, and in those changes, it was declared that the Third B didn’t need a vote to take effect. Novotny signed the petition and said he didn’t know that there was a chance the signatures would not be turned in to the council.

“They told me they were doing it to force a vote,” he said. “I thought they were fighting. It turns out they were not fighting, they just wanted their $35,000.”

In order to express his feelings, Novotney has been carrying signs around campus and the community.

SA President Amanda Mattingly and President-elect Ryan Brunner said they haven’t had many complaints about how the Third B was handled, but they have had many questions.

“I’ve had some people thank me for not turning them in,” SA senator Julie Doss said.

But there are others besides Novotny who are upset.

Scott Pedersen, associate professor of biology and microbiology, said many of his students have told him that they feel betrayed because they wanted this issue to be referred.

“They felt they have been given insufficient information and they thought this was a good deal to get away from,” he said.

He said the SA was bought off by the city.

“My greatest concern was that the students who sign the petition in good faith – they were sold out,” Pedersen said.

Brady Phelps, a psychology professor, agrees. He said the SA was short sighted and the money will not be a major benefit to students in the future.

No matter who is upset, Mattingly still sticks by the decision not to turn in the petition.

“As president of SA, regardless of how I feel about this tax, I wanted to do this because it was the best for the students.”