COUNCIL DELAYS ACTION ON PRIMARY
Marisa Agha, Pioneer Press
April 1, 2003

Roseville's primary stands for now.

The City Council held off on an expected vote Monday night after much discussion about whether the item should have appeared on the agenda. The question of whether the city should abolish its primary has drawn much discussion in recent weeks.

Though some council members wanted to vote to keep the primary Monday, Mayor John Kysylyczyn, who first raised the issue in January, said that he would give a 30-minute presentation before any vote was taken.

"The council does not have a handle on this issue," Kysylyczyn said. "The public does not have a handle on this issue. No one has a handle on this issue. We don't have all the information. It's like shooting in the dark."

Council Member Tom Kough, who requested his colleagues take up the issue Monday, said that it was time for the council to act.

"Mayor, you can talk 'til you're blue in the face," Kough said. "The people of this city want the right to vote. We're all grown-ups. We've studied the issue ... leave it like it is."

Council Member Greg Schroeder cited concerns about how the item got on the agenda.

"Unfortunately, it did not follow procedures in getting here," Schroeder said. "Why are we even discussing this?"

Although some argue that dropping primaries would save candidates and taxpayers money and mean fewer campaign signs, primary supporters contend that the election precursor ensures that the winner is chosen by a majority of voters and allows for more informed decisions. If the city eliminates the September primary, the council must act by June.

In other business, the council unanimously agreed Monday to remove a firing range from its plans for a new public safety addition. Instead, the city's police officers will use either the one at the new Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center or one in New Brighton.

Marisa Agha can be reached at magha@pioneerpress.com or (651) 228-2109.

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