Back in the 80’s distinguishing our democratic republic from a pure democracy was a big deal and one of the core arguments I heard to support the Republican agenda. Back then, that distinction made some sense, Republicans were protecting a wealthy minority against the tyranny of the majority and us long-hairs were – well whatever it was that we were up to.
So when conservatives start promoting representative democracy we should take note. Kudos, right? Or is this just a democracy-wash of a system designed to let people “have a say in electing all of our council members”.
The ward system of voting in a city the size of Eureka is as far from a representative democracy as possible. The promoters of this ill-advised change want to limit the number of people who elect City Council members.
– Melinda Ciarabellini, Rex Bohn, Mike Newman, Marian Brady
Simply not true on both accounts. I’m one of these promoters and there is nothing more fundamental to my personal political motivating for doing what I do than to increase the percentage of informed citizens voting. Everything else, whether it is fighting for smart growth, sustainable development or accountable policing is secondary. The foundations of our politics and community depend on it – if we believe and act on the governing documents of the United States. In fact my drive to increase the number of motivated and informed people electing local officials is exactly why I’ve taken up the bloggerific hobby of doing whatever I can to help someone navigate the byzantine corridors of local politics.
I would challenge those who wrote those two obnoxious sentences to come up with any evidence at all to support them.
And to turn the tables, those opposing P admit that their bottom line is to hang on to all of their votes and influence. Their signs say it. Mathew Owen says it. Anonymous bloggers with a WordPress blog say it. Even Mayor Frank Jäger said the following at the Rotary forum on P. (click link then use the scroll bar to get to 42 min in).
“In closing I’d only say that this measure is undemocratic and it takes away your vote. I and many in our community want a say in electing all of our council members because they work for all of us.”
Mayor Jäger and those against a true ward system want to keep their influence over the entire city. If this means there is less incentive for others to vote, so be it. In fact I’d argue reducing the incentive for regular people who may not have the time to pay attention to 6 city-wide elections instead of just one is the darker, flip-side of the “I want all my 5 votes” argument.
Unlike those who wrote the argument above, I don’t believe that Major Jäger is consciously working to limit the number of people to vote. However, there is no question that the movement to limit voting has been critical to the success of the Republican Party and the conservative movement nation wide.
Proof? Here is Paul Weyrich clarifying a strategy in 30 seconds which no movement conservative can ever, ever speak out loud again. “I don’t want everybody to vote… as a matter of fact our leverage in elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down”.
The idea that voting for Measure P is “undemocratic” and that to support Measure P means that you want to limit the number of people that vote. This is so wrong and misleading that it gets another max rating of 3 of 3 Trumps.
Please think about breaking through the false and misleading rhetoric this election season and vote “yes” for Measure P. Measure P is a true ward system for Eureka. It is. important. It returns us to the basic essentials of democracy that had been working in Eureka for decades. It returns greater accountability of your representative to you the voting citizen.