Choices Not Districts: Against Charter Amendment 19
Cities where district elections have caused problems:
- San Francisco: After switching to districts, campaign expenditures NOT reduced by District elections; higher costs
- St. Louis: Problems with pork barrel spending when politicians are elected by districts
WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE NO
ON SEATTLE DISTRICT ELECTIONS – Charter Amendment 19
Currently we have all 9 City Council members elected at-large. Each of the 9 members wants your vote and is thus accountable to you.
Amendment 19 would divide Seattle into 7 districts with only 2 still at-large: You would get only 3 votes instead of 9, and most candidates would be off-limits to you.
WHY IS IT ON THE BALLOT NOW?
Seattle voters have rejected district elections 3 times, but it is back because one major, commercial property owner has contributed nearly a quarter million dollars, over 90% of “Seattle Districts Now” campaign dollars to once again try to force district elections onto us!!!
DISTRICT PROPONENTS MAKE SEVERAL CLAIMS:
1. BETTER ACCOUNTABILITY TO YOU? WRONG!
- Six council members will no longer be accountable to you at all. Nor will the 2 at-large. At-large members will be reluctant to help you behind your district council member’s back. If you think 9 at-large are not accountable to you then why do you think only 2 at-large will be?
- If you have e.g. a parks issue and your council member is not on the Parks Committee, where do you turn? You have no pull with the other committee members. Whereas now the Chair of every committee is accountable to you.
- In the Voters Pamphlet, proponents claim that district elections will “ensure” that your neighborhood gets its share of city resources. But, where will those additional resources come from? IF every district gets more money, then the whole city must get more money! Where from? HIGHER TAXES!
- And see the 2003 Article from GOVERNING, on how districts can cause suffering.
- Is electing more challengers your concern? Since 1999, — 24 out of 47 King County Council races were unopposed. The County Council is elected by districts. During this same time period, only 1 City Council member ran unopposed.
2. LESS CAMPAIGN MONEY NEEDED? THINK AGAIN!
- With district elections, special interest money can still flood into your district race. Special interest money may end up electing or influencing your council member. Look how special interest money has paid for this Districts Now campaign! You may end up with Big Money’s council member, not yours!
3. ALL THE MAJOR CITIES HAVE DISTRICTS. SO WHAT??
- That doesn’t prove districts are better. In fact, there are glaring examples of disasters from districts. See link above for the article about district government in St. Louis. “Each of the 28 ward aldermen is the gatekeeper of development in his or her little slice of the city.”
- AND THE US CONGRESS IS A CLASSIC DISTRICT GOVERNMENT.
SEATTLE’S CURRENT AT-LARGE ELECTIONS ARE BETTER BECAUSE:
1. Our 9 at-large council members are more likely to consider the needs of the city as a whole, not just favor one district.
For example, affordable housing, human services, schools, at risk youth, zoning, allocation of dollars for parks, libraries, and low income housing. District Election Politics creates pork barrel deals, dividing a city instead of focusing on Seattle’s needs.
2. At-large council members are more likely to work on regional issues that have a major impact on our city and the values we care about. Because they represent the whole city, their voices carry greater weight in regional forums.
For, example, transportation / transit, water supply, water and air quality, preservation of farms and forests, economic development, fair regional allocation of affordable housing. Now, this work has the attention of 6 city council committees. Under districts, the two at-large council members can’t handle all this.
3. At-Large Elections give you the ability to hold every council member accountable for what you care about.
TODAY, ALL SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD. WHY CHANGE THAT?