Wednesday, January 27, 2010

True Ward Initiative Redux

Interesting, but not surprising, comment made in the Topix comments regarding the ACLU Patriot awards of a couple days ago. I say not surprising because it's the same thing we always hear when lefties try to gain an advantage in the electoral process.

I think I've already shown the True Ward system won't give the Left the advantage they believe it will.

So, Slow to Change replies to me (in part), "Boy, have you got it wrong!

It was estimated that Robin Arkley Jr. spent about $250,000 on an 11th hour TV/radio/newspaper blitz to oust councilman Chris Kerrigan from a second term. In that race, Kerrigan spent over $90,000 and his right-wing opponent spent $120,000!
.

He complains about all the money being spent, especially by his candidate's opponent. He also complains that it's impossible to visit every house in Eureka to make up for the money his opponent spent. What's he missing here?

His candidate won using the current system and even spending less money.

But, for some reason, this fellow and Greg Conners (I'm sure David Cobb and Larry Glass must feel the same way) seem to think that if voter's choices are limited only to their own ward, Eureka would have a progressive majority.

I've said before, the exact opposite seems to already have been proven to be true: Democrats hold the majority in Eureka and currently can vote in all 5 wards, regardless of where the voter lives. If all those Democrats voted along party lines, then "progressives" would hold every seat on the city council. They don't.

People vote for the candidate and their ideas in our city council races, not the political party.

I've become convinced the motivation for the Left's support of this True Ward system is simply to gain what they feel is an advantage in local electoral politics, just as they did with Measure T. They won't actually be getting that advantage, but they believe they will. For that reason alone- call it petty, if you will- I'm more than happy to vote NO on the True Ward Initiative should it make it to the ballot.

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21 Comments:

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Hi, Fred -

I have supported ward elections since back when "progressive" still referred to Teddy Roosevelt. To me this issue is about making elective office more accessible to more prospective office-holders, period. It's a democratic (small d) point of view, but not necessarily progressive or conservative. If anything, it would give people like you a better chance of winning an election.

I thought the issue had gone quiet, but maybe not. If your talking points represent push-back, does it mean there has been some action?

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger Fred said...

About the only valid concern I've heard at this point is what you mention about access to office, meaning it might be easier for a candidate to campaign in one ward vs. the whole city. Ok, it might be, depending on how much effort the candidates involved care to put into their campaign.

As far as push- back, I don't know of anyone that's actively fighting the initiative. To most people, as I think it should be (and have said so before), this shouldn't be that big of a deal, except I've gotten the feeling most people prefer to have the choice to vote for all the candidates, rather than limit their vote to just the one in their ward.

And remember, because I get to vote for candidates from all the other wards, they all get to vote for the candidate from my ward. Seems to works fine as it is and, as I've said, no harm- no foul.

Where's the problem? I get the impression some candidates- Larry Glass perhaps?- might not like campaigning city wide, but most others on the city council don't seem mind. They might not like all the work involved, but that goes with the territory.

 
At 10:19 AM, Blogger beachcomber said...

I can see it would cost much less for a candidate if he/she needed only to convince the voters in their ward. As a "constituent", however, I want to be able to vote for EVERY council member that can affect my city.

 
At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By switching to a Ward system, Larry would only have to deal with campaigning in Old Town area, his strong hold. I don't believe he has the support of the rest of Eureka and is vunerable this next fall.

But this doesn't matter if the they don't have enought signatures to qualify for this June election.

 
At 1:36 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I don't believe he has the support of the rest of Eureka and is vunerable this next fall..

I suppose things might have changed, but it seems to me he won handily last time, having been elected by the entire city and not just his ward.

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Fred said...

But this doesn't matter if the they don't have enought signatures to qualify for this June election..

Now that you mention it, I don't believe I've ever seen anyone gathering signatures for this. Has anyone seen anybody gathering signatures? Might this effort go the way of that failed living wage initiative that was tried just before last city council election?

 
At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Joy Finley said...

Fred,
In front of Safeway last friday, paid signature gatherers from the "true ward" system, were busy. They used subterfuge by having you sign the first petition "for the state to keep it hands off" our tax dollars. The progs who are behind this initiative have money to spend for these signatures. Larry Glass won by about 420 votes because Mary Beth Walford was too much a lady to get down and dirty by stating the obvious. Glass doesn't live in the 1st Ward. I think it would be hilarious to have another carpet bagger run against Glass and pretend to live in the ward.
Joy

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm happy to vote-if it gets that far, to keep things the same I like having a say in the makeup of the Entire coucil thank you! I will even vote again for Larry Glass although he's a little whacko (sometimes)

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I certainly disagree with many of the things he's worked and voted for while on the city council but his roll- up- the- sleeves and get to work attitude he's shown since he took office is certainly commendable.

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger mresquan said...

Incidently,I am pretty certain that Cobb and I agree that the wards need to be eliminated,with voters using ranked choice voting to elect the council members.
And this true ward thing isn't being backed by just lefties.

 
At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred you are really missing the whole point here. If it was about favoring progressives/conservatives and nothing else, the ACLU wouldn't be involved, since they're a non partisan organization that doesn't support or oppose particular candidates.

True ward voting (which almost all ward-using cities besides Eureka consider a matter of course) means the councilmembers will be more accountable to the neighborhoods they come from and will have to rely more on communicating directly with them instead of big money, big media buys.

It's not about some Dem agenda, it's about our representatives representing us. Just like we have our own Congressman voted on by our own Congressional district, and Redding has their own without us meddling in their decision about who represents them.

 
At 8:17 PM, Blogger Fred said...

If it was about favoring progressives/conservatives and nothing else, the ACLU wouldn't be involved, since they're a non partisan organization that doesn't support or oppose particular candidates..

Yet they just the other day gave a Patriot Award to an entity that had nothing to do with preserving individual liberty or the Constitution. Identity crisis there, as there is in this instance. You seem to be looking for issues to fight, Charles.

It's not about some Dem agenda, it's about our representatives representing us..

We've already been through that here. There is no problem in regards representation of Eureka citizens. Show me where the problem is.

You can't. The only thing that proponents of the True Ward system can point to is that some elections didn't have the results that some wanted. That would just as likely happened under a True Ward system.

I can't think of one instance where the current system caused some miscarriage of "Democracy". If you can think of one, please tell.

Please, show me one instance where the current system failed where a True Ward system would of worked.

I'm betting you can't, because this issue is almost irrelevant, as far as the real world works.

 
At 8:28 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Incidently,I am pretty certain that Cobb and I agree that the wards need to be eliminated,with voters using ranked choice voting to elect the council members..

Whatever. I'd prefer RIV myself, but you'd have some work to do to convince me that RIV would work any better than the current system.

Just like the ACLU, you and Cobb seem to think that, if we just do the voting right, we'll solve most of our problems.

I see that as naive, at best, manipulative, at worst. Generally, I've come to see most of these so- called "reform" efforts to be just attempts at a power grab by certain elements (nearly always by the Left).

Just like this IRV thing, BTW: Simply an attempt to multiply the lefty vote in a lefty area. Not sure how effective that would be, but I don't like the idea, to be honest.

 
At 8:55 PM, Blogger mresquan said...

"you and Cobb seem to think that, if we just do the voting right, we'll solve most of our problems."

Well not necessarily,but why not give voters the chance to vote in order their preferences?

It's not a left/right thing,is a fairness in representation thing.
After all,isn't that the prime reason the libertarian party supports it?

 
At 8:03 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I don't know that the LP thinks it's necessarily fair. It's probably because it seems like a better way to vote to a lot of people.

Someone recently posted something over an LP Yahoo Group about how a number of cities are adopting IRV. I made a quick comment over the list about how I'd cooled on the idea recently. No one responded back defending IRV.

If the question ever ended up on the ballot, I'm not sure how I'd vote on it.

 
At 8:04 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Which raises the question, how you'd ask the question about IRV on a ballot? How about:

Yes
Kinda
Maybe
Not sure
No
Definitely Not!

And do we just allow one choice or vote in ranked preference?

 
At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Jeff Leonard said...

When I first heard about the true ward proposal, I was excited. It would be a lot easier to run a campaign if you only had to worry about one ward.

Then, a nice couple up near Harris street called me on the phone and said, "Isn't that self-serving? You want to take away four votes from Eureka residents to make it easier to run a campaign?"

They were right. If the True Ward system passes, voters will get less votes = less power = less democracy.

I'll vote NO.

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Fred said...

..."Isn't that self-serving? You want to take away four votes from Eureka residents to make it easier to run a campaign?".

That's also easy for them to say since they've probably never run campaign.

 
At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's ok Jeff Leonard, your flip-flops have become so routine as to be expected. I'm quite certain the voters will send you the same message when you wind up in distant third place in this June's election for Supervisor.

 
At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and Jeff Leonard would have LOST if he actually had to rely on the Third Ward to be re-elected in 2006. Maybe that's why he had a sudden change of heart. All selfishness, no higher value, that's the kind of mis-representation we've come to expect from lil' Jeffie.

 
At 10:07 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Not necessarily. If he only had to campaign in his district, he could have gone to every house in the district to make his case. As it was, he had to try and cover the whole city, right?

 

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