Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Freddy On Measure P

I've mentioned Eureka's Measure P in previous posts but though I'd give it some more type here. First question I had was what would the conservative arugment against P be? This being another one of those issues favored by Left or Right, but not both. This is also clearly a Left issue as it was introduced and worked through the city council by the so- called progressives. Those progressive council members also wrote the ballot argument supporting it.

So what would the conservative argument be? None of you accepted my offer to guess, but I'll take a shot at it:

If I were to ask my self- described conservative brother- in- law who has the No On P sign in his yard that question, I suspect his answer but be something like this:

"You know that's just the Democrats pushing it so they can get more votes in city council races..". 

Yep, and I agree, but I don't know I like that as the only argument. It's akin to attacking the messenger rather than the message. So what if they're trying to change things to gain electoral advantage? The question should be whether a ward system of voting would be better than our current at- large system.

I also wondered about the No On P yard signs: What does it mean by don't throw your voteS away?

I figured that out quickly enough: Under a ward system you only have one vote- for the candidate for your ward. Under our current at- large system you vote for all city council candidates. The 2 or more that are running?

One of the first arguments Measure P proponents make is the lack on representation for each particular ward. That, and the threat the city faces from litigation- other cities having been successfully sued over at- large voting. 

Yes, those big cities lost, but I'm willing to bet they had identifiable ethnic differences in their various districts such as San Francisco's Chinatown. Other large cities have ethnically identifiable neighborhoods, too. Eureka doesn't.

I've lived here over 40 years and can't for the life of me think of one ward or neighborhood that has a specific ethnic or even political identity. The city might lose in court, but not because ethnicity of neighborhoods was being ignored.

The main arguments proponents make in the sample ballot is that at- large voting is too expensive and too labor intensive making it difficult for candidates of lesser means to run. That is a valid point. I suggest it's the same for both sides, although one side or another may be able to take better advantage of money or volunteers than the other. Either way, it generally affects both sides equally, at least at the start. If you don't like one side having so much more money than the other, vote for the side that doesn't have the money. It's already your choice

 Proponents make mention in their argument of ward representation- that by having a council member living and elected by their ward (even under the at large system, council members have to live in a given ward to run for that ward's seat on the council). They imply that would give a ward real representation.

I don't like that argument as it's so divisive. It's like it's one ward vs. all the others in town. 

I'm not sure that I've ever seen that complaint made other than with Measure P: that a ward is ignored because of an ineffective council member. I did have personal experience with being brushed off for not living in a ward, but that was under our current at large system.

Some years ago I e-mailed a council member whose name I can't recall. I also can't recall the issue. The council critter e-mailed back and said he wan't on my ward's seat so he'd forward it to the council guy that was in my ward. That was under the current system. Make what you will of that. I dropped it because it was a petty issue.

John Chiv brought Measure P up on his blog not long ago. I commented there that if the system ain't broke, why try and fix it? Another commentator replied that wasn't a good argument. Maybe so, and I can see how someone might see that as simplistic as voting against it just because progressives support it. 

But maybe it's not that bad an argument when you consider what the unintended results of changing the system might be. I got to thinking that the progressives went to the effort to push a ballot measure over this, and I'll give the conservative argument credence that they did it trying to gain electoral advantage. 

What's to say they won't be emboldened by the ward system. What might they do then? I suspect as soon as the smoke cleared and they took a close look at voter registration lists, we'd see these very same people push to redraw ward boundaries to their advantage- the same old gerrymandering we see at the state level that is snickered at by all. 

I don't know how one goes about changing the city's ward boundaries, but trying seems a very real possibility should we go back to that system.

I'm voting No on P if only because I don't see the current system as needing fixing and don't look forward to the eventual gerrymandering of wards that will likely take place should P pass.


At 12:33 PM, Blogger MOLA:42 said...

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Take a look at the City of Eureka and tell us it "ain't broke."

I think you are mostly correct when you say the City of Eureka does not have a "black" part of town, or a Hispanic part of town, etc. Yet there is a very clear economic divide where half the town is going to hell and the other isn't.

I would argue that economic divides are as real and pervasive as racial divides.

You are worried about Gerrymandering? Look at the wards as they are now... Your worry is a bit late.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

About the only "different" area of town I can think of is the west side, where all the ne'erdowells and low lifes live. I don't know how you couldn't draw boundaries for the west side, though. I've often wondered where it ends and begins and come up blank. Sometimes I think my house is in the west side and I'm on E street.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

City council hires "staff". Staff presents "packetts". City council signs packetts into play. Whether it be 1 cc or 30, the end result is the same. The only difference is, with the Ward system, the "democracy mob" can bully the opposers easier.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Vote No.

A Yes vote means you are an anri american, social treasonist who won't force gubbamint to lead within its means......

A No vote ensures gubbamint won't get bigger on this flawed measure.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

As if only one other option is a saving grace.

Eureka is whacked, will always be whacked because the people in majority (voters) are whacked......Fred not being whacked of course, cuz he has a brain and can think on a level generally not reserved for most Eurekans because of being whacked out.....of course, being whacked out on smack, crack, tar heroin, meth, etc.... helps make Eureka extra whacked, above and beyond the business owners, homeowners, publuc employees, private sector elitists, etc...


At 9:39 AM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Vote No.

A Yes vote means you are an anri american, social treasonist who won't force gubbamint to lead within its means......

A No vote ensures gubbamint won't get bigger on this flawed measure.

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always assumed it was set up where you vote for you representative ..from your district...whats wrong with that?

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

As it is now, a candidate must live in a certain ward to run for that district's seat, but the entire city votes for that seat's election. Measure P would make it so only those living in that ward vote for that ward's seat.


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