Those supporting the current byzantine electoral system in Eureka like it because it keeps 80% of their votes. They want to make sure their imprimatur is on every one of the five city council members.
Here is a quote from the official argument against P.
Under this measure the voter would only be able to participate in electing ONE councilmember living in their ward. They would not be able to vote in the election of councilmembers in the other four wards.
I feel I am channeling my inner modern conservative when supporting the true ward system for Eureka. It was a late 19th and early 20th century progressive movement that supported the nationwide trend of moving to at-large elections. This stemmed from as a measure to defeat the corruption of party bosses in cities like New York, but it found continued support from progressives that were generally well educated or politically active.
Thus with at-large elections rather than the basic concept of one person – one vote they were able to consolidate their power and agenda easier than with a true ward or district election.
But times have changed and the left of this country has made strident efforts to unshackled itself from the racist policies and ideas that sadly did influence both Democrats and progressives prior to 1965. Not that bigotry is erased, it simply is no longer institutional in left-leaning politics and that is a great thing.
And that is one of the underlying reasons why liberals and progressives in Humboldt are almost unanimously united for Measure P and the old guard of conservative Eureka politics is united against it. Those against it will not look at it in those terms, instead they will be asking the question to those they would like to influence – why give up 80% of YOUR influence.*
But that is the rub, who is the recipient of that 80% Elks Club members are forfeiting? I believe the recipient would be those voters who might not otherwise vote. If this is true, it should be understood that this movement for P is then not agenda-driven for liberals or progressives. In fact to hear Matthew Owen on this subject while he was going door to door, his conservative views were well represented by those he met.
This is why I’m passionate in my support for Measure P. If a true ward returns to Eureka, candidates will go door to door themselves with the potential of hitting each home in their district. They will need fewer volunteers speaking for them and thus will undoubtedly be able to motivate some percentage more of voters either to come out and vote for (or against) them. That is the bottom line for those that support P, democracy returns to the people in the homes, not just those members of the Elks Club.
My plea is for even one conservative to break the mold and speak out (or type) with passion for a true ward system. You have to be out there, I know it. I listen to, and respect those who speak from the heart for conservative values. I get those values and often share them. Values such as empowering individuals to help themselves.
Well here is your chance to prove your commitment to these values. We should know that the arguments against P really isn’t an esoteric argument about electoral systems and which is more representative or democratic, NO ON P is about keeping all 5 of their votes. You know it, and I know it. It’s a power play pure and simple and those who want it to pass are admitting it – just take a look at their advertising.
But what about your, or our shared, conservative principles? Anyone willing to speak out? Anyone? … Bueller?
*Measure P IS a voting rights issue. It may come down to that one day because of California’s relatively young Voting Rights Act (CVRA). Here is a video that summarizes the fight for expanded voting rights in America. I contend Measure P continues that fight as we are now tasked with getting all eligible voters to get out and vote. Measure P helps us in that fight!
From the video (4:03 minutes in):