Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eureka's Ward System

Tom Hannah has a My Word piece in today's Times- Standard. He's asking us to not sign the petitions being circulated that will change the way city councilcritters are elected. Quite frankly, his argument makes about as much sense as Greg Conners' arguments supporting the petition. Neither makes much sense to me. I don't think this is that big of a deal.

As I suggested on Eureka City Council Dude, Jeff Leonard's, Open Town Hall forum some time ago when this issue was being discussed, it does seem weird that a candidate has to live within a certain ward but is elected by all the city's voters. If that bothers some people, maybe we should change it.

You have at least two choices: Make it so a candidate from a certain ward can be elected from only those voters that live in the ward or, get rid of the ward system altogether with its residence requirements and let candidates live and be elected at large. It really makes no difference to me and I think you'd be hard pressed to find any substantial benefit from one system over the other in how the city is run.

There might have been problems with the true ward system of yesteryear, as some have alluded to, but I'm sure there would have been similar problems had some other system been in place at the time.

Again, this isn't that big of a deal, but since Greg C. decided to turn it in to a Republican vs. Democrat issue (and how changing to a true ward system would change that in any way is beyond me) I think I'll pass on signing the petition. As to how I'll vote for this should it make it to the ballot, I'll decide that later on. I might just end up standing aside on this one.



At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg is a big blowhard who feels compelled to butt his nose into things that don't rightly concern him. This has nothing to do with partisan politics. I wish he would butt out and stick to issues regarding where he lives in Loleta.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Fred said...

The above comment is very much borderline as far as acceptability here but, since one sentence actually deals with the issue, I let it go.

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no excuse for personal attacks regardless of someone's party affiliation... this measure is doomed to fail and is a waste of taxpayer dollars at a stressful economic time.

Why would voters give up the Rights to select an Entire City Council and only vote for one voice? That doesn't even make sense.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Greg said...

4:04, the way it works now everyone else in town picks the council representative from your neighborhood, and the petition is for a vote that would be consolidated with a regularly-scheduled election. The idea is at least partly to drive costs down.

10:58, I have been called worse by better, and it is all about partisan politics. It always has been. How else do you think so many Republicans have been elected in such a Democratic town?

Supporting democracy is everyone's business. Eureka's system locks too many people out of running for office and makes it too expensive for those hardy souls who do run.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Fred said...

How else do you think so many Republicans have been elected in such a Democratic town?.

That statement pretty much refutes your belief that this is all about Republican vs. Democrat and that city council races are partisan races.

Democrats hold the edge in registration in Eureka. Yet time after time Republicans are elected to the Eureka City Council. That shows that, unlike you, most people vote for the person, as opposed to the party.

A prime example would be the Clark vs Jager election last time around. Jager cleaned Clark's clock despite Clark trying to make a partisan fight over it. Jager was head and shoulders above Clark as a candidate so he won by a large margin.

Even Clark bringing up partisanship in the candidate forum didn't help him in any visible way. I'd like to think it actually helped defeat him.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Greg said...

You've got me here, Fred - you get to vote in Eureka and all I can do is type my opinion in this little box.

Partisanship exists. Some elections are "non-partisan" meaning candidates to not run in party primaries for a chance at the general election; this doesn't make Frank any less Republican or George less of a Democrat. Have you seen the facebook quiz "Which Eureka Councilmember are You"? Good stuff.

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Certainly there are always candidates a conservative/ Republican might favor over another as there are candidates lefty types might favor. I think overall, though, most voters vote for candidates on knowledge of the candidates and stands on the issues.

And let's not forget, of course, those who vote for the candidate with the nicest or most yard signs.

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets cut this right to the bone and ask what someone living in Loleta cares about Eureka elections-what purpose does this serve? Are Greg and Carol stretching large before a bear in the woods and trying to appear bigger than they actually are?

This measure is total B-S and whoever made Larry drink the koolaide has brought him down to a new low. We would expect this from the other one but Larry used to use whatever brain he had left.

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Oh, I don't think it's total BS. Some people think it's weird that a candidate has to live in a certain ward but is elected by those who live outside the ward.

I'll have to admit, though, to wondering if Glass and Atkins have some ulterior motive for pushing this. Might they think, as Greg seem to, that by switching to a true ward system the council would consist of all Democrats after it's implemented?

As I've already pointed out, a democratic majority has already chosen republican candidates time after time. I don't think switching to a true ward system will change that.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right Fred. There will be fewer votes per person... I think having the rule about living in a ward is way different than voting everyone for all.

If you look at it from another POV: Representing a Ward-coming from a neighborhood, living in it is one thing. There can be several people running against one another while being next door neighbors fine fine.

The entire city is effected by decisions the council makes so having Everyone vote/choose the winners makes perfect sense (to Hopefully most of us). This is our present voting right--decreasing that is ludicrous and this is sure to Fail.

Progressives are engineered differently than Dems and Republicans. What makes sense to them is way out of the park to most of the rest of us but thankfully we still get to vote. And we can choose to not sign petitions... think about it.

Just say No.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry you took offense Fred. But, I know Greg well. I have spent years listening to him holler over people. It is just plain wrong.

I don't like it one bit, that someone from another district would tell someone else in a different district how to live. I Just plain don't like it. Your a libertarian Fred. I would think that you would understand my resentment of that type of intrusion albeit it was ineloquently made.

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I can understand people getting upset with other people but I want people attacking each others message here, not the messenger. If someone mixes the two, I'll usually let it go if most of what they write is about the message. If all they is say a certain person if full of crap, that's not acceptable.

In your case above, one sentence "This has nothing to do with partisan politics", is on topic. The other two sentences, one was a personal attack, the other was close to it so it's very borderline. If you hadn't included the second sentence, I most certainly wouldn't of allowed it.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Oh, btw, I was thinking about this issue while working today and came to a rather odd conclusion:

The system Eureka uses now would be more likely to stuff a city council full of democrats, assuming voters voted party line (most of whom apparently don't). As it is, Democrats are the majority in Eureka. Since they can vote for candidates in ALL wards, we should have democrats in all seats on the council (again, assuming they voted party line).

If we went to a true ward system, assuming some wards ran strong with one party or another, then some wards would nearly always be represented by republicans and some by democrats, assuming everybody voted party line.

But most people don't vote party line in city council elections thus the current mixture on the city council. Maybe Greg should switch his position and oppose the petition and Tom Hannah should support it now?

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Carson Park Ranger said...

"Why would voters give up the Rights to select an Entire City Council and only vote for one voice?"

Because they want to have a vote that's five times as powerful for one candidate who represents their ward.

At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

City Council has always been non partisan and Eureka voters are smarter than to vote along party lines-lets keep the present system. I still like having a say in the entire council's makeup I voted for all of these (I'd take back my vote for Linda after seeing her in action tho') Im not influenced by Tom Hannah nor Greg/Carol because its easier to think for myself always have.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is one city government, not a republic of five fiefdoms. And one budget, staff, police, and public works. Having council members live throughout the city is a little like affirmative action, it ensures some diversity of interests and associations on the council.

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted this over at Greg's blog, but it disappeared. I dont think Greg's so sensitive as to not take a little constructive criticism -

I just pointed out (taking pains to say that it wasnt a slam), that Greg has a habit of responding to those with diferring viewpoints than his as just trotting out "talking points", which in effect accuses the person of not thinking for themselves.

Anyway Greg, you should think about that the next time you trot that line out. The conversation has been interesting, from all sides of the spectrum, but when you accuse someone of just "parroting talking points", it kills the conversation and demeans the person you are responding to.


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's what's being deleted over there - as "personal attacks" and because Carol "didnt like them":

Well, that’s too bad, because this was an interesting conversation.

My point remains the same. I hope you consider it before dismissing comments that you disagree with out of hand. It really adds to the conversation when we can respectfully disagree, and not summarily delete comments.

Go ahead and delete away, but again, consider the point. And again, it wasnt intended as any kind of an attack – my apologies if thats how you interpreted it.

Have a great weekend.
Leave a Comment

At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


you jump on people for piling on Greg (or anyone, and rightly so), but good lord,this guy is just beyond words:

"Carol // September 25, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Reply

That is how I interpreted it. Apologies accepted. You have a good weekend, too.

Greg // September 25, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Reply

No thanks, “Paul”. Carol is too nice. If this gizmo works, you are history at C&G’s.

(This is the old fart at the end of the week. “Have a great weekend” yourself.)
Leave a Comment"

Wow, what can I say. I realize it's his blog and all, but to be banned for pointing out that it gets old, and is condescending to continually dismiss differing viewpoints as "talking points"?

Lame. You cannot handle an open and honest discussion, Greg. You dont want to think, you just want to insult. Its too bad, because you do have some good points.

(This is the old fart at the end of the week. “Have a great weekend” yourself.)
Leave a Comment

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Fred said...

And that's enough on that. You've had your say on it.

At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a valid discussion talking about our elections and educating the public a little on the Ward system. Its interesting that voters are more educated dispite continuing efforts to keep jamming partisan rhetoric down our throats. Its a good thing G&C isn't more widely read though-if you arent going to present both sides of the argument and allow the public at learge to make up their own minds....

At 1:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not about partisan politics. It's about money. In the city-wide vote setup we've got now, it takes a ridiculous amount to try to get your views out, because you can't walk the whole town.

And it's about neighborhood representation.

Electing people by ward means less money influence and more getting a real chance to know your rep, and as a consequence, better representation.

And unlike some like to imply, you can still call any council person after they're elected, whether they're yours or not. Seems like they'd know that getting a bad name as being unresponsive or rude gets around, even if it's from being rude or unresponsive to people outside your ward.

Some seem to mostly fear this as losing control by giving more unmoneyed regular people with good sense and good ideas (not just good PR pieces put together by expensive consultants) a shot at winning, because that will be a lot easier to make happen in the new structure.

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did the Conners get the impression they are speaking for most Democrats?


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