In the fifty plus years that FairElect is using as a study baseline Tucson, Arizona has grown from a small town with a population of roughly 120,000 according to the City of Tucson Web Site.
According to the 2000 US Census, the population of Tucson is at 486,699. The 2003 estimate predicts 507,658. Thats reveals a +4% rate over the three year period (1.33/year). That' slightly exceeds the national average over our study period.
If the current 2003 estimate was divided evenly into our current 6 wards that would give us a population of 84,609 in each ward. With 6 Council Members working part-time with a $24,000 salary as detirmined by vote, the strain on the system is easy to understand.
One way to fix this is to limit ward size so that a desired part-time "Citizen-Council" can better represent their ward and take input from their constituency. So, as the city grows, so grows the council.
We've said it very simply; 75,000 or less per ward-district.
Chapter XVI, Section 9.3. CITY COUNCIL WARDS SHALL NOT EXCEED A POPULATION OF 75,000 PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE LATEST AVAILABLE UNITED STATES CENSUS DATA FROM COUNTS ORDERED UNDER ARTICLE 1, SECTION 2 OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.
ADDITIONALLY, THE NUMBER OF WARDS SHALL BE OF A NUMBER THAT MAKES THE ELIGIBLE MEMBERS OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL AN ODD NUMBER.
This would change our Council immediately, as the last US Census figures of 486,699, divided by 75,000 would equal approximately 6.5 wards. That means 7 wards at a minimum. That minimum would stand if the new mayoral election rules with IRV were approved by voters. Under our current system, this would require an addition of 2 wards to allow for an odd number of votes for the Mayor and Council. The odd number is common in governmental systems to eliminate tied votes.
If Tucson continues to grow at +4% (simple interest) over the current decade and the US Census figure could find a population of 551,429. That would mean a minimum of 9 seats available with a minimum of 8 Council seats under our present system. With the new mayoral election rules, there would be 9 wards.
This should give us better representation in our city government. A Council Memeber would represent a fixed number of constituents. Constituents would compete for the ear of their Council Member with a fixed number of competing voices.