Vote No on Orange County Districting Referendum

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Thank you Orange County League of Women Voters for sponsoring tonight’s forum.

There were 15-20 folks in the audience this evening, including former BOCC candidate Artie Franklin, current BOCC candidate Jamie Daniel and Superior Court District 15B candidate Chuck Anderson.

Fright-night, referendum style, came a day late as Moses Carey pretty much reprized his earlier “debate” performance pulling out the legislature as bogeyman. In Moses’ scenario, the legislative demons will swoop in if the referendum dies, reject the voters will and steal our ability to choose alternatives.

Backing off an earlier claim that independent runs would be easier, tonight he just claimed it would be slightly easier. It won’t be. Technically it’ll take %5 of 88944 registered voter signatures to even get on the ballot. Strangely enough, that’s more signatures than it would’ve taken to win a District 2 spot in this year’s primary.

Once again, he asserted the best way to unite the county is to divide it, contrary to the lunacy our southern neighbors in Chatham county are going through…

Though he acknowledged helping craft a 1993 recommendation to use this alternative voting method, he characterized my claim that cumulative voting opens doors to minority voices as pure speculation. Further, he rejected my claim, once again saying it was pure speculation, that evidence to the contrary and in spite of wide usage throughout the world – our country – in corporate governance, the method is better than districting in apportioning representation.

He did recant and admit that the expansion of the board and districting could be voted on separately.

He also agreed that the “1 person, 1 vote” didn’t accurately capture the real exercise of voting power – a side-effect which allows fewer voters in District 2 to elect a candidate than candidates in District 1 (this given that winning the Democratic primary is “de facto” winning the general election).

Moses did surprise me with his suggestion that Orange County citizens weren’t up to understanding cumulative voting – that it was too confusing – and that they couldn’t be educated.

After presenting the only option in defeat as sticking with what we have, I asked him directly what would stop the BOCC, 24 hours after the referendum’s defeat, from starting over and incorporating the best ideas for selecting and electing a diverse slate of candidates.

He ducked that direct question and a subsequent one from the audience: “What will you do if the referendum is defeated?”

When asked the same question I made the following pledge:

If the referendum is defeated I will appear at the first BOCC meeting after the election and ask for:

  • Expansion of the board to seven members
  • Non-partisan elections
  • Cumulative voting
  • Immediate implementation of rural and urban super-precincts

If we pass this referendum, additional reforms will not be implemented. If we pass this referendum, rejecting proven and practical alternatives which emphasize coalition building, then we’ll have consciously created a house divided.

Please don’t be fooled by the sugar-coating, board expansion, around this bitter pill, institutionalized divisiveness and disenfranchisement.

Vote NO on the Orange County districting referendum.

Nov. 1st: Carey, CitizenWill and the 2006 Redistricting Referendum in Hillsborough

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

I’m once again on the hot seat tomorrow as pro-referendum Orange County Commissioner Moses Carey (and legions of staffers) try to counter my pro-democracy arguments against local election redistricting 😉

Seriously, if folks walk away understanding how this redistricting actually diminishes “small d” democracy, distorts voter-power, potentially overweights rural influence and that other, better, alternatives were not adequately entertained, I’ll be satisfied.

Since the last “debate”, Commissioner Carey has reversed his previous assertion that the expansion of the board to seven members and the districting must be done together – it doesn’t. He did assert, evidence to the contrary (look southward to Chatham for instance), that districting isn’t divisive and that this referendum is the best way to promote minority representation. Again, alternatives, like cumulative voting, do a much better job promoting minority voices without sacrificing “small d” democracy.

Finally, based on this WCHL1360 [MP3] interview, Moses appears to have no idea or desire to carry forward with increasing local democratic access to our government if this referendum should fail.

Hey, at least he didn’t use the NC legislature as bogeyman argument.

ELECTION FORUM — The League of Women Voters-ODC will host an educational forum on the November referendum on district elections for Orange County commissioners at 7 p.m. in the Orange Water and Sewer Authority conference room, 400 Jones Ferry Road in Carrboro. A second forum is scheduled for Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the F. Gordon Battle Courtroom, 106 E. Margaret Lane in Hillsborough.

Map to tomorrow’s meeting.

Oct. 18th: Carey, CitizenWill and the 2006 Redistricting Referendum

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

I’m on the hot seat tomorrow as pro-referendum Orange County Commissioner Moses Carey (and legions of staffers) try to counter my pro-democracy arguments against local election redistricting 😉

Seriously, if folks walk away understanding how this redistricting actually diminishes “small d” democracy, distorts voter-power, potentially overweights rural influence and that other, better, alternatives were not adequately entertained, I’ll be satisfied.

ELECTION FORUM — The League of Women Voters-ODC will host an educational forum on the November referendum on district elections for Orange County commissioners at 7 p.m. in the Orange Water and Sewer Authority conference room, 400 Jones Ferry Road in Carrboro. A second forum is scheduled for Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the F. Gordon Battle Courtroom, 106 E. Margaret Lane in Hillsborough.

I’ll be the long-haired, bleary-eyed, referendum rebuker.

BTW, I might not be able to make the Nov. 1st meeting. Anyone else interested in publicly countering the referendum?

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