Don’t Throw Your Constitution(s?) Away!

The legal and political reason behind the trend for California cities to scrap their at-large elections in favor of true district or ward elections is that protected classes of people have been demonstrably neglected by the at-large system.  From the LA Times 9/14/2013.

First came Modesto. Then Compton, Anaheim, Escondido, Whittier, Palmdale and others were pushed into the growing ranks of California cities under pressure to change how they elect their city councils.

Activists seeking minority representation on those councils are clamoring to have members elected by geographic district. Ethnically diverse cities that hold at-large elections and have few minority officeholders have proved vulnerable to lawsuits under the 11-year-old California Voting Rights Act.

All a plaintiff has to do, experts say, is demonstrate that racially polarized voting exists — and often that can be done with election results that reveal contrasting outcomes between predominantly minority precincts and white ones.

Across California, community college and school districts are making the switch.

And the “Nnoonpo on P” folks are only proving the case that this is about more votes and thus more influence for the like-minded voting majority.  Take a look at the photo of the campaign sign against P that fellow Humboldt liber….. blogger Fred Mangels posted yesterday.

Don’t throw your “votes” away?  Plural?  What is it in conservative philosophy, at least that part of the philosophy which they can speak about out loud, that will argue for one person five votes?

As I have tried to argue before, the local left including Democrats and Bernie’s former group which has morphed locally to the North Coast Peoples Alliance are fighting for the goal of accountability in representation;  you vote for your representative and that person is accountable to you and other members of her district. This is not an essentially liberal or even progressive idea, YES on P should be a conservative notion.

But conservatives cannot vote for true ward elections because they know they would like to hang on to the influence of having votes and thus influence over all 5 wards.  And that is why for them, maintaining an at-large system prevents discrimination against them.  They are loath to give up 4 of 5 votes and lose 80% of their influence.

If that means they to ignore that conservative angel on their shoulder that would argue for these conservative principles, so be it.  If it means they have to subject the City of Eureka to likely lawsuits whose outcome will only have become more clear after the arguments of this election, so be it.

Just give us all five of those sweet, sweet city-wide votes to which we are entitled.

 

Mobile Home OWNERS Need Our Help

Before I get to the my piece, please note the following fundraiser tonight for The Humboldt Mobilehome Owners Coalition (Yes On V)…


  • TONIGHT, 9/24 at 7:00 The Humboldt Mobilehome Owners Coalition invites the public to a Yes On Measure V Mash-up at Redwood Raks in Arcata (8th & L Sts. in the Old Creamery Bldg). The event features a no-host bar serving beer and wine, trays of free finger foods, music, and screenings of some short films. Admission is $5.00– bring friends! Measure V preserves affordable housing in mobile home parks and prevents houselessness in Humboldt County.
    • For more information about Measure V go to: HumboldtMobileHome.org, or email  info@humboldtmobilehome.org, or call 707.845.5173.

Sometimes it takes me a while to get information through the convoluted neural networks in my skull.  I don’t think I’m alone in this, which is one of the reasons why I feel it’s important for someone like me to jot down some thoughts and notes in long-form on these intertubes to help others get what it took me days, weeks, months or years to get.

Case in point. I strongly support rent stabilization measures to maintain some semblance of affordable housing in mobilehome parks (I’ll be voting Yes on Measure V).  I didn’t put too much thought into it, but I hadn’t understood the name of the organization Hillary Mosher and others have created to help prevent the continued commodification of  mobilehome parks.  It was named the “Humboldt Mobilehome OWNERS Coalition”. (Capitalization mine for emphasis)

Well, finally from a friend came this reminder in an e-mail…

One point I think often gets missed is that these are mobile home owners who are renting the space, and can’t just pick up and move to another location. So they are a captive to the whims of the park owners. They aren’t renting the mobile home (at least most aren’t as far as I know), but are paying off a mortgage and in addition having to fork over space rent.

AH- HA!  Exactly.  Epiphany received and neural network re-aligned.  Thank you!

And it’s not like those running Measure V were hiding this information away.  If fact if you measure the Yes On V website the first 3 paragraphs of the main page say this…

Did you know that most of the people who live in mobilehome parks in Humboldt County own their own homes but pay rent every month for the land their homes sit on? Did you know that this “mobile” housing is so expensive to move that most mobilehomes are never moved once they are set in place?

This makes mobilehome owners “captive” renters, who are tied to the land by their biggest asset, often purchased after a lifetime of hard work. Mobilehome residents are seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and hard working families. Many of them are on fixed incomes. They will cut back on everything they can to keep paying mobilehome space rents, because their only asset ties them to the land.

So mobilehome OWNERS it is, and they are taking on the mobilehome PARK owners who, btw, are the ones who have received $135,000 to make turn normal everyday Humboldt voters into “citizens against rent control“.

And what does that $135,000 buy besides the obvious upcoming advertising onslaught?  More than likely the community organizer for hire Travis Sexton.  From Carrie Peyton Dahlberg’s blog post at the Yes On V site titled Who Is Travis Sexton…

Someone named Travis Sexton is a manager for Citizens Against Rent Control, the anti-V group, according to this morning’s (9/22/16) Times Standard. Is he the same Travis Sexton who wrote a paper on how to drum up community support for fracking?

Is he the same Travis Sexton who spent 10 years at The Saint Consulting Group, whose Facebook page talks about harnessing “grassroots” power to push through development decisions, and asks “are there really more stupid people or are they all just showing up at your public hearings?”

Is he the same Travis Sexton whose LinkedIn bio says he now runs Agrippa Strategy Group in the San Francisco Bay Area, the one that offers to run campaigns to win “community” support for political issues?

Does he live here, in our community? Does he vote here? Does he care about Humboldt at all — let alone care about our vulnerable neighbors in mobile home parks?

The voter rolls we have access to don’t show anyone named Travis Sexton as a registered voter in Humboldt County. But maybe he’s a great guy who just moved here, and only happens to have the same name as a publicist for fracking.

Those links to The Saint Consulting Group and their Facebook page are instructive.  Check them out if you have time.  My favorite aspect was this completely-not-stock-footage of what some person imagines a nasty NIMBY protest to look like.  Can you make out where the green screen would have been to put in that fake crowd behind the 11 actors who probably earned a nice day’s wages to make this photo?

nimby

Who knows, maybe this IS another Travis and Carrie and I will have a little egg on our faces, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it.  Here are his quotes from last Thursday’s Times Standard.

We’re two years behind in terms of getting the word out,” said Travis Sexton, a manager at the group, adding that there are plans to spend the money within the next few weeks.

Sexton said the measure would be unfair to mobile home park owners and only lead to legal action against the county. “Rent control measures have proven to be complicated, costly and unconstitutional,” he said, a sentiment he said was shared by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors when it nixed its own rent control ordinance four years ago, raising concerns over damaging competitiveness and discouraging landowners from offering additional forms of affordable housing, the Ukiah Daily Journal reported at the time.

This Travis Sexton surely knows what he is doing and he seems like the type of professional opinion-swayer that a well-funded organization could rent for their campaign.

All the more reason for all of us to stay informed and get active to maintain (return-to? create?) a Humboldt economy that will work for all of us – not just those that can make money off of their investments.

 

Pop Quiz. Which is Greater $135,000 or $1,000?

I’m not sure what the young man at THC (The Humboldt Consequential) is smoking, but it has to be good.

On two separate posts and an update in the past couple of weeks he has first feigned indifference and now sees deep nefarious political conspiracies where none exist.

And, frustratingly, he references this blog to make his arguments.

The argument goes like this. Mr. THC says he was on the fence on Measure P until he read Pam Service’s letter to the editor which rightfully argues that one of the great benefits of Eureka’s Measure P, which would return Eureka to a True Ward system, is that it reduces the bar substantially in terms of what it would cost to run for office.

Somehow this cogent point about True Ward’s benefit in lowering a local candidate’s election costs led THC to *begin dark music* think back to the old subject of Democrats shuffling of national and state union dollars to a couple of battleground races for California’s Legislature, through local Central Committees including HCDCC.

Here is commenter Sam’s take-away this weekend:

“the HCDCC is big money in politics.” Thank you for saying that in writing and publishing it. Everyone knows it and it is really nice to see it acknowledged. So much for them that whine about developers.”

Democrats Aren’t Big Money, They Are A Conduit:

The reality is, when the big money comes, it quickly goes supporting competitive California Legislative contests with only administrative courtesies left in it’s wake for the HCDCC to spend in Humboldt elections.

We will find out shortly with required campaign finance rules where the nearly quarter of a million dollars will end up this year. I am not a fan of this process because this becomes a liability in local political debates. It doesn’t matter that the right wing will be completely disingenuous, because in these discussions, logic will not matter. What matters is any deflection of the actual mechanics of politics helps to tell the story of a rigged left-wing government/political process that is making life tough for the little guy.

Sadly, the evidence really is the opposite. The local Democrats generally are left with about 7% of this money. This amounts upwards of a third of the HCDCC’s annual budget of about $50,000 a year. Most of the Democrats spending money is made via two fundraisers meals – Chicken By the Sea and Democrat of the Year.

So the Democrats in Humboldt are not big-money, but more of a conduit. By the way, that conduit is set up specifically because unions and those working for working people will otherwise be outspent by those fighting against labor.

The ultimate financial result of the local Democrats’ endorsement of Austin Allison for Eureka’s Fourth Ward, Measure P (True Ward), and Measure V (Rent Stabilization for unincorporated Humboldt) was the following $1,000 to Measure V, $500 to Measure P and $500 to Austin Allison. Is that big money?

Big Money:

What about comparing a local $1,000 donation to a grand sum of $135,000? That is the current treasure chest for the opponents to the Yes on V folks, who are simply trying to stabilize rent increases in mobile home parks and allow mobile home owners in these parks a more democratic say in their future. Yes, you read that right, that is $135,000 against the Democrats $1,000. Where is our crusader against big money in politics when you need him, or her, as the case may be for the anonymous THC?

Thanks to Patti Rose of the Yes on V campaign you can see for yourself the 497’s that detail the type of money that will pay for the ads that are about to inundate Humboldt’s 150,000 residents. Here are the donors and amounts summarized:

135000.JPG

This is the reality of big money in local politics and thanks to campaign finance rules we now get a chance to set the record straight in real time.  For those counting, the Democrats’  $1,000 donation is 0.7% of the $135,000 those wishing to raise rents on their terms to those, often on fixed income, who can least afford it.

Lookit:

Modern politics is not difficult to get. The modern conservative is focused on his finances. That is the heart of the power of conservative movement that has only recently been overtaken by a billionaire who is also selling out-and-out nativism. The goal of the modern conservative is very similar to his business goals: a) reduce spending (taxes) and b) increase revenues (non-labor profits).

How do you pass that kind of political agenda when this means you have to get 51 % of the vote? You do this by telling disingenuous stories about big bad unions, big bad Democrats, and the big bad regressives. (Not to mention those people who don’t look like you and don’t share your religion or culture.)

And this tactic tends to work in the most economically vulnerable regions of our country which we all should understand, includes Humboldt. THC and many other local right-of-center pundits get this. They want their readers to view the movement that fights for a public sector that works for all citizens, as the bad guys.


A:  $135,000.  You all did great.  THC see me after class.

News EWs Can Use: Suspended SSP

Good news for eligibility workers (EWs).  Denial of at least certain instances of  of Cal Fresh  due to suspension of State Supplemental Payments may soon end.

In other words, soon Cal Fresh applicants or recipients who are currently found ineligible because the Social Security Administration has suspended but not terminated Supplemental Security Income-SSI (and with it California’s State Supplemental Payment-SSP)  will  again be able to receive benefits.  Remember the idea behind Cal Fresh ineligibility for SSP recipients was that the SSP itself was meant to act as cash for nutritional supplements and thus those clients receiving SSP do not receive CalFresh as well.

calfresh_color_eng

But those clients with SSI/SSP in suspension were not receiving this supplement yet remained ineligible for CalFresh benefits.  Something was (and still is) very wrong with that.

Thankfully, as is often the case with Social Services, the legal system came in and fixed something that was blatantly unfair.

 From the Western Center for Law & Poverty

July 11, 2016 – U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Northern District of California, invalidating a 37-year-old U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulation, ruled on July 1, 2016 that Californians with suspended SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits are e(1ntitled to receive SNAP (food stamp) assistance.

Hector Riojas, the plaintiff in Riojas v. Vilsak, was homeless and residing in Humboldt County. He received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) food benefits and subsequently applied for SSI disability benefits. SSI (Supplemental Security Income) provides support for aged, blind and disabled individuals who are poor. In California, SSI recipients also receive a small amount of money as a replacement for SNAP benefits and so are ineligible for SNAP.

For confessed eligibility wonks like me, the court’s decision makes for fascinating and relatively short (15 pages) reading.  And yes you read that right, the plaintiff is (or was) a Humboldt County resident.

Unfortunately, change isn’t immediate for the county Social Services Departments (such as Humboldt’s DHHS).   Here is the language from this letter to County Social Services Branch Directors from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS)

The purpose of this letter is to inform counties of the outcome of the case. Counties do not need to take any action at this time as CDSS is awaiting guidance from USDA. CDSS will issue an All County Letter (ACL) with more information to bring California into compliance with the ruling as soon as possible.

So, in this case the system is working and the hard work of discovering that something is wrong is done.  Now comes the administrative work of making sure eligibility workers get the chance to do their job as eligibility, rather than ineligibility, workers.

I’m not sure who to pressure to make this right quicker, whether it would be your county Supervisor (to pressure the DHHS), our CA representatives such as State Senator McGuire or Assembly-member Wood (to pressure the CDSS administrators) or our US Representative Congressman Huffman (to pressure the USDA).  But if this is something you care about, let them know so line eligibility workers can begin doing the right thing.


Continue reading “News EWs Can Use: Suspended SSP”

A Great Ten Minute Video on Ten Years of Climate Change Politics

We are all familiar what is happening at the federal level with one major political party very serious about finding any reason at continue to support not-so-vested economic interests such as … Big Coal … Big Oil … Big Auto Manufacturers … and yes … Big Consumer.

Lookit, coal and shale make big and easy targets when discussing climate change, but let us not forget our own contributions as we drive to work every morning, buy bananas that were shipped from the equator etc.

Here is a great video summary of the past 10 years by Joss Fong and Joe Posner at Vox that was published a few weeks ago.  On the left side of the video you will watch as our representatives, largely Republican but with support from some conservative or coal-state Democrats pander to climate change during the election of 2008 then slowly revert to the denial with which we have become familiar today.  On the right you will watch as the global average temperature anomaly continues its inexorable rise (in degrees centigrade) and as arctic sea ice continues to dwindle (in millions of square kilometers).

To accompany this video, below is a summary of how our federal representation has changed over the past 9 years.  I hope this table can serve as another reminder during this election season of the importance of Congress not only as policy makers but also important moderators in our national dialog.

congress-by-party

An Open Letter to Mr. Chiv on Eureka’s Fourth Ward Race

John,

dsc_0006-12bjohn2bchiv2b20162bcopy
John Chiv from his website

You and I often disagree on policy, and this informs our individual politics and political agendas.  Yes, we both have political agendas – all of us should.

As you know I disagree with the widely held notion that we are best lead as a City or County by a general consensus in politics. Sometimes polarization or strongly held opposing views are important and necessary.  Politics exists to help us come to better  decisions given the extraordinary diversity in our individual experiences, education, worldview, occupation, family or financial status, religion, heritage, etc.  We all will have different perspectives on what we as individuals would like to see in a future Eureka and a sometimes bumpy political process can help us to get better, more informed, decisions.

What needs work in our local community where we all will run into one another and depend on one another, is not necessarily a quieter or more subdued decision making process; people should be passionate about politics and expressions of outrage or celebration are important.  What needs work, imho, is how we talk about one another – we should strive to be civil in our disagreements.

John, you crossed a line in your reporting on why Allen McCloskey stepped down.  When I dropped out of the race for the Second Ward, I began to attend meetings of the North Coast People’s Alliance.  This is the amazing group of largely new voices to the local political scene that stemmed directly from Bernie Sanders’ candidacy.  I met Mr McCloskey at one of these meetings and thus was in the loop of those involved in finding Allen’s replacement for candidacy in the Fourth Ward – Austin Allison.

I personally have zero doubt about the reasons for Mr. McCloskey’s decision to withdraw from the race.  You have questioned the reasons for this switch.  As an outsider, I might be doing the same.

However, one of the results of your reporting was the punditry at The Humboldt Consequential (THC) run by an anonymous person unaccountable for amplifying your accusatory questions.  This is what they wrote

“Not to be outdone in the “shady politics” department, would-be challenger Allen McCloskey drops out of the 4th Ward race only to be replaced immediately after by his hospital lackey, Austin Allison.

Humboldt County politics, right? Got to love them.”

and

“As a side-note, we’ve also heard from a few different corners that the health problems that forced Allen McCloskey out of the race aren’t really problems with mental and/or physical health, and we’re admittedly stumped as to what those problems are.”

As a bureaucrat in the administration of health care, privacy of health issues is top of mind every minute of every day.  I believe it is imperative that we respect these rights.  If this is all Mr McCloskey wants to share with his community,  I hope we could all understand this and not see some imagined dark cloud of liberal or progressive agenda in an individual’s fight for health.

It’s election time John and may the persons and ballot measures that will be best for our common future pass this November.  However, what happens along the way matters too, and I would hope for a re-framing of the questions you asked before people start to vote.

John, please come to some resolution to your lingering questions soon.  The rallying support for last-minute candidate Austin Allison who stepped up to take on this very difficult challenge (on which you reported) was an incredible story for Mr. McCloskey, his family, friends and supporters under difficult circumstances. Please don’t make it something it isn’t.

This is what you wrote on August 17th and and a version was repeated via THC on Sept. 1st.

So, Allen McCloskey dropped out of the Ward 4 race, was his only reason as stated in Lost Coast Outpost?

– John Chiv

With respect to Mr. McCloskey and his privacy I will simply re-print what he told Ryan Burns of the Lost Coast Outpost: “McCloskey declined to specify the nature of his health issues but said he will be making regular trips to Stanford”.

I will say this John, the brief conversation I had with Mr. McCloskey on that day whenmany rallied around Candidate Allison was not one with someone putting on airs about health issues for some nefarious secondary reason.  This person was sincere and resolute and helped find a person to take up the political challenge he himself had to (hopefully) delay.

I wish Allen well in this much more important personal challenge and I know you will too when you are able to either get proof of the question above or learn to trust someone with whom you disagree, especially when there are zero repercussions for our community.

John, I appreciate and respect that you will disagree on much of what Mr. McCloskey (or I) have to say about the issues of our day, but make this stuff about policy.  Let’s try to stay away from insinuations, especially when people may need our prayers or well wishes rather than our accusations.  If you agree that we need as a community to be cognizant of our public civic discourse, public answers to your question or its retraction matter now, not after the absentee ballots are received by voters and definitely not after November 8th.

Thank you for your consideration,

Jon Yalcinkaya.

 

 

The “Bottom Line” for Those Against a True Ward Electoral Process for Eureka.

Continue reading “The “Bottom Line” for Those Against a True Ward Electoral Process for Eureka.”

Numbers: A Little Perspective on Our Place in the Universe

Link from The Presurfer.

Did the music bring anyone else back to from Carl Sagan’s late 70’s PBS shows?  It’s Vangelis’ “Alpha” btw.

If you happened to miss the cycle, play the beginning of the video again.  It’s a nice touch, even if it the multiverse isn’t a thing.

I’m So Sorry Eureka, I Couldn’t Do It

I suspended what in the end was little more than an intention to run for the 2nd Ward.  There are three main reasons for this…

a) I am not ready to be a public official.  I need to know more, I need to be more connected to our community and I have work to do in my life.

b) My current impetus for running is based largely on the negative reaction to the vision Matthew Owen has for Eureka.  I was not able to articulate positive reasons for voters to vote for me that don’t involve eyes glazing over or napping. (yes the latter happened)

c) I need to understand how to overcome a deep personal aversion to self-promotion.

And that was not because of a lack of support.  I want to thank, those who showed an interest in supporting a campaign.  This includes my employer who approved leave to allow for a campaign, a handful of current and former public officials and those within political and labor organizations to whom I reached out.

Most of all, thank you to humboldt49 who I have been so blessed to have as a Mother.

I can believe that this is for the best.  Even if Mr. Owen does waltz in without an opponent (we still have until the 12th to find a candidate), a movement which represents a new local perspective on governance that does not believe that landlord or business interests always trump those of working people can maintain a 3/2 majority as Councilmember Atkins terms out as Allen McCloskey appears to be running against John Fullerton in Eureka’s Fourth.

Also, there will be a measure on the November ballot which, if passed, will be much more important to effective governance in Eureka that any one race or campaign.  I plan to put all my discretionary energy and time this summer and fall to assisting the campaign to begin to return representative democracy to Eureka by making it a true ward system not to mention supporting Mr. McCloskey in the Fourth.

FYI, here is the latest opinion against the true ward system (Sunday’s “My Word” in the Times-Standard).  It’s by former City Councilmember Thomas Hannah who apparently has the amazing ability to see into the hearts of “true ward” supports like me and the thousands of voters who will be voting this November…

“Far from being concerned with public good, supporters of this change are focused, as before, only on advancing personal goals and special interests.”.

Darn voters and their personal goals and interests!

Having said all this and with personal direction and motivation for the future, in 2016 I failed in my intentions to do everything I could to give Eureka’s Second Ward a choice.  With my early and public announcement to run and then stepping back at the 11th hour, I’ve likely hurt any chances for another candidate to step up against someone who understands the politics of the working class and environmental sustainability are not “regressive”.  I am truly sorry!

80% Discrimination and Local Elections

Matthew Owen is running for City Council Member for Eureka’s Second Ward as, coincidentally, am I.

We disagree on quite a bit even though we both have been active Associate Members of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC).

Our first public disagreement this election cycle is on the current mind-numbing “At Large” electoral system Eureka uses.  You can find my opinions of it here and Matthew Owen’s opinions of it here.

Basically Matthew will say the system “ain’t broke” while I’ll agree with Bob and Pam Service that we have a local democratic crisis.

(Search for Eureka City Council 7/5/16 on access humboldt and start at 10623)  I had to remove this  video as  it was loading and running with the home page.

 

Mr. Owens believes there is wisdom in the current system because it will help distinguish the lazy from the non-lazy candidate.  Seriously, laziness is a recurring theme in local right-of-center politics and from a recent pre-election conversation with Matthew, not to mention his latest post, it appears this will be another election cycle with this talking point.

But laziness aside, let’s look at the repeated contention that a True Ward system means 80% Discrimination.  First of all, I don’t think Matthew is clear on the concept of discrimination.  Discrimination is on/off.  Either you are discriminated against or you’re not, there is no such thing as being partially discriminated against.

Matthew’s argument, from his post, is this…

You would not have any say (vote) for the City Council candidates in the other four wards. In other words, for each Eureka City Council election only 20% of the voters (one out of five wards) would have a say and 80% of the voters would be discriminated against.

Which simply doesn’t make any sense.  Do you feel 99.9977%* discriminated against as us Humboldtians who have voted for Congressman Jared Huffman don’t have a say in the rest of the 434 Congressional Districts?

Eureka Ward
Madsen now Arroyo, Newman now Bergel

Matthew is playing the victim here when he is actually one of the ones with more power (or in this case representation).  What Mr. Owen and those that use the spurious argument of “don’t fix what ain’t broke” won’t tell you is the “At Large” system is clearly about … maintaining power.  Yes, maintaining 80% more power for those people who will vote more often.  These voters are people who tend to own property, tend to have a stable life, tend to be older and better educated, tend to pay attention to local issues and might even have a financial stake in how the elections go.  These are also people who tend to live in the more affluent parts of town which include (generally) most of the Forth and those parts of the 5th and 3rd that approach Henderson center.  These are the people who tend to vote the way Matthew and those that will support him vote – trending conservative and Republican.

That is what is at stake here.  It is about democracy.  Neither Matthew nor I are fans of “exclusion in the Democratic (sic) process“, but I would argue that Matthew isn’t being honest in his definition of democracy when he concludes that the True Ward system isn’t clearly more democratic.

The local system is in crises as evidenced by the lack of candidates, especially those with left-of-center views that do not have easy access to critical political infrastructure such as cash from local businesses or for that matter, high profile property for signs.  The result is less choice in elections and lower rates of participation as people appropriately feel disenfranchised.

The True Ward system is an exciting addition to November’s ballot and I’m hopeful that Matthew, John Fullerton (announced candidate for the Fourth Ward), and I (and hopefully one more candidate) will have a honest and informative debate on why we hold the views we do.  Who knows, maybe a genuine debate will help spur interest sparking a trend of more public participation in local elections.


* 100%-1/435 where 435 = the number of Representatives in the United States House of Representatives.