Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Spotlighting the team

The last entry contained a great little speech made by Anayansi Rickets encouraging the Eureka City Council to adopt the No Confidence Resolution. Here reprinted with permission is an excellent letter from Eureka resident Scott Menzies to Eureka Mayor Peter La Vallee:
Good Evening Mayor La Vallee,

I spoke at the City Council Meeting this evening in regards to the No Confidence resolution. I wanted to follow it up with a little bit more information about my final statement, in reference to Eureka being "ripe and ready" for Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).

During discussions on election reform issues I've had with various voting organizations over the last few weeks, I received the following e-mail from Dave Robinson of Californians for Election Reform (CfER):

"Eureka is one of the few cities in California that face no major practical obstacles to the implementation of ranked choice voting methods that would provide satisfactory representation to many more voters. It has a city charter, so it has control over its election rules, and it uses voting equipment that has been proven to work with ranked ballots. I only know a little about Eureka politics, but I imagine that there are many reasons why more inclusive, efficient and fair election methods may be viewed favorably there. There are a lot of advantages to getting rid of a ward system and using Cambridge, MA-style ranked choice voting.

Depending on what happens in San Francisco - which is using demonstrably poor voting equipment, but which may still provide a valuable and encouraging example - the post-election period may be an excellent time to make a pitch to improve election methods."
Well, it turned out that San Francisco's first election with IRV went fabulously. And, considering what Mr. Robinson said about San Francisco's poor equipment, that is a great sign for us, as, according to him, our equipment is perfect for IRV.

With that in mind, I would like to encourage you to look seriously at the No Confidence Resolution, as it does a very good job of setting the stage for our city and others to make strides forward in real election reform by saying that we're not confident in the way our federal elections are held. Again, how many people do you know who aren't, to at least some extent or in some way, jaded about voting?

IRV, to me, is one of the most attainable and easy ways of helping make our voting voices, all of them, no matter what your party affiliation, clearer. Who can argue that being able to rank your choices of candidate, ensuring that your vote is counted for something, if not your preferred candidate, is a bad thing? Eureka could make a huge statement for Northern California by beginning the process of exploring IRV for local elections.

And it seems all that much easier because we are in such a perfect position to implement IRV already.

As I stated this evening, I do realize that "no confidence" has a pretty negative ring to it, but is it not already very negative that so many of our fellow citizens have so little faith in the voting process that they won't even vote? A strong statement needs to be made to set the stage for real reform. It's not our intention to dissolve the government as the Ukrainian "no confidence" vote did, but it is our intention to bring to light in the most clear, direct, and honest manner our feelings about the federal election system.

So, with that, I ask you to please add the No Confidence Resolution to the next City Council agenda and seriously consider looking at beginning the process of implementation of IRV here locally.

I really appreciate the time you've taken to read this.

Thanks a bunch,
Scott Menzies



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