"In politics, strangely enough, the best way to play your cards is to lay them face upwards on the table." -- H.G. Wells-- Bringing People Together Seeking to Improve our Local Political Process
Much has been said lately about buying locally as a means to improve the economy of the City of Tucson. It is said that much more of the currency that you use to purchase your goods remains in Tucson in the form of wages and business profit if we buy from a local merchant. A national chain big box will give us a lower price due to the economy of scale, but in the end our purchase subsidizes businesses and people far away. Meanwhile our economy suffers.
The same can be said of the political process here in Tucson. A republican democracy uses the economy of the ballot. When we spend so much of that capital on national and state candidates and then ignore our own local government, we subsidize a stronger centralized government and our local government suffers.
Then again, if a political decision is going to be made by someone else anyway, then why waste valuable time voting in an election where the outcome seems inevitable? If there is anything that holds true in human history, it is the need for people to save face and to avoid having their time wasted.
With a trend of lower voter turnout in local elections and a more divided culture nationally there is a need to find equitable solutions to allowing the voice of the electorate to be heard. The ideal of democracy is that together we can make a better future, if we all get an even voice. It is apparent that many do not believe that equality of voice exists in the City of Tucson. We have a proposal to bring our citizenry an equivalent say in the conduct of our government.
A Bit of Background: On December 19th of 2006 the Mayor and Council voted to form a "Citizen's Task Force" to look into the election process in Tucson. The idea came from Ms Trasoff (Ward 6) in the working session and was later formally proposed by Mr Leal (Ward 5) and seconded by Ms Trasoff. The link above is a recording of the banter and the vote. The Mayor and Council were responding to an aggressive audience assembled to oppose any measure that would mandate an All-mail system of voting for city elections. The response to the crowd was the proposal to look into the elections problem as a whole. The vote on the measure was unanimous and the applause generous.
To honor the vote taken in 2006, the Mayor and Council should form a "Citizen's Task Force" to look into the election process in the City of Tucson. This task force should be formed as soon as possible with a task of looking into a more fair election system in the City of Tucson. This task force should look into the physical counting of ballots, as noted in remarks prior to the vote. This is a task that will require much effort and should be given due time for proper and effective completion.
Additionally, the task force should formulate a set of proposals to assure community agreement in the method of election in the City of Tucson. It should then facilitate the formation of a sample of voters selected randomly to look into these proposals for possible placement on the ballot regarding the conduct of our elections. Then, with Mayor and Council approval, a vote on the agreed proposals should be placed on the 2009 ballot.
We're working on finishing this proposal to present to the Mayor and Council regarding the election process in Tucson (Here's a Draft). The proposal will include a description of the problem and a method to bring potential solutions to the electorate.
Every idea comes with a set of assumptions that reveal a belief system. Here, the belief system is pretty simple. Democracy, though flawed, is the best form of government available. A election system that puts voter choice into the system enhances participation in the franchise of democracy. So, if we build a better system, a better and stronger elected government will follow. Like every belief system this ideal is imperfect, but it works for us.
We've met with 5 of 6 Council Offices and the Mayor's Office. Our proposals are known. Will they act?
Will they join us or at least make a counter proposal? We're watching.