Two ordinances that have
generated distinct differences in the City
Council are scheduled for vote at this
evenings regular meeting in City Hall.
Council bill 03-68 would add
new regulations concerning firearms in City
facilities. The ordinance was in reaction to the
possible state law allowing the carrying of
concealed weapons. The bill has come to Council
previously, but was tabled and modified.
Council bill 03-73, sponsored
by Mayor Kenneth Johnson, would change the way in
which Council members are elected. The bill would
change the current representation of two Council
members per ward to one member per ward. The
remaining five members would be elected by the
entire community. These community elected members
are referred to as "at large"
Four members of the Council
appeared to be against the change during the last
Council meeting, some expressed reservations, and
others were supportive of the change.
The ordinance would also
eliminate what is considered an error in current
code that does not require Council members to
live in the ward they represent.
Letters to the Editor
expressed reflect those of the writer and not
necessarily those of the Mornin' Mail.
Warning changing to
makes Large Changes.
"Of the people" for
the most part, the people who live near each
other are more alike. Having "At Large"
councilman means having less representation from
each ward and would mean someones
viewpoints and ideas will have less chance of
being supported. If this were not true then there
would be no need to change. This is also
If people living in one Ward
are mostly of one ethnic group as compared to the
city as a whole then they will have half the
representation they have the way it is now. The
same is true of people of different incomes.
"By the People"
"At Large" means large campaigns. It
would take more money and time to run a city wide
campaign. The more finatical resources and social
influence you have the more likely you are to
win. This means you would have a city government
run by "some" of the people. The
dominate political party in the city with the
most money will have more representation. Money
by itself will have an effect no matter who it
comes from and this leads to the influence of
"special interest groups"
Another consequence of "At
Large" is Less quality of representation
from each individual ward. Having staggered or
overlapping terms usually means a ward has one
councilman who has at least one years experience
still in place when there Ward sends someone new
to represent there views. With the "At
Large" method of council any ward sending a
new person would be without some one there with
experience and that ward would be at a
The last consequence of
"At Large" is Less quantity of
representation. A lot of the city is run by
individual Boards. The members of the Boards are
appointed by the mayor at the approval of the
council but each councilman is involved as a
liaison. Each councilman is expected to attend
there boards meetings and be involved in
what happens in the operation of the city at the
board level. This, in truth, is where most of the
things happen in city government. If you cut the
number of council seats from each ward in half
then you have cut that wards participation in the
city in half. It also means there is one less
person you can call or talk to from your
neighborhood to have your say.
Leaving some people out of city
government is the goal. It may be more effective.
It is easier to control the difference people
have than convincing them to agree or living with
there differences. The choice of how to govern
our city is the issue.
In regard to the proposed
change to "at large" council members,
as opposed to a balance of two for each ward: You
gotta be kiddin me!!!
The purpose of the ward system,
adopted by city leaders long ago, was to balance
the council, and ensure that each ward was FAIRLY
represented. The mayor is elected city-wide to
help this balance system.If this is
"evolutionary" government, then maybe
its time for another revolution.
Why dont we just elect
400 congressmen from California, and 80 senators
from Massachusetts to represent the whole of the
I hope this ordinance fails,
and fails miserably.
JD "Boomer" Whitledge