Extended Rebuttal

REBUTTAL OF PRO-DISTRICTING ARGUMENTS

THE PRO-DISTRICTING ARGUMENT:
Currently, no one on the City Council represents your specific neighborhood or community and each Councilmember has to represent 630,000 people.

REBUTTAL:
This is very misleading.  Seattle has nine council members, dozens of districts and hundreds of neighborhoods.  And even if your neighborhood is one of the nine with a council member, this council member may not be your political soul mate. 

Also, “each Councilmember has to represent 630,000 people” fails to take into consideration that currently there are nine council members representing 630,000 people, not just one.  Currently, we each get nine council members to lobby.

THE PRO-DISTRICTING ARGUMENT:
Under Charter Amendment 19, there will always be at least one member of the Council ensuring your neighborhood gets a fair share of resources such as parks, community centers, libraries, public safety, human services, pedestrian improvements, and road maintenance. A YES vote on Charter Amendment 19 means you will finally have a Councilmember advocating for the specific needs of your community.

REBUTTAL:
Council members take an oath to represent the city, not just a slice: e.g. public safety and utilities are citywide issues.  We don’t need council members with tunnel vision.

THE PRO-DISTRICTING ARGUMENT:
By retaining two “at-large” Councilmembers and the Mayor representing the whole city, Charter Amendment 19 ensures regional and citywide needs will have a voice.

REBUTTAL:
Retaining only two at-large council members will not ensure that citywide needs are met; it takes five for a majority on the council.

THE PRO-DISTRICTING ARGUMENT:
Each district under Charter Amendment 19 will have about 88,000 residents, meaning a grassroots candidate can win against an incumbent using good old fashioned legwork and people power. Under the existing system, candidates must use expensive mailers and television ads to reach hundreds of thousands of voters. A YES vote on Charter Amendment 19 opens the door for qualified younger or less well-connected candidates.

REBUTTAL:
This is an extremely weak argument on their part.  It is a well-established fact that districting protects incumbency: in congress, in our state legislature, and in the King County Council elections.  In fact, in the 2009 elections, 4 out of 5 King County Council districts had no challengers.  And two incumbents are running unopposed in this year’s county council elections. 

If by “legwork” the districting advocates mean doorbelling, this is an unsafe and discriminatory method of campaigning.  Many property owners have stairs without railings.  And doorbelling turns political campaigns into athletic campaigns that discriminate against handicapped candidates.  A candidate in a wheelchair or a mature candidate with arthritis in the knees is at a disadvantage if the litmus test for candidates is how many stairs they can climb.  Legwork is fine in sports, but the political playing field should not discriminate against physically handicapped candidates.  Political forums make much more sense than “legwork.” 

And, doorbelling works for well-connected candidates: e.g. (no offense intended) Bob Ferguson, first running for county council, took a year absence from his law practice to doorbell his district.  Most Americans don’t have that kind of job security or financial independence.

THE PRO-DISTRICTING ARGUMENT:
Of the 50 largest U.S. cities, Seattle is one of only three still electing all its Councilmembers citywide. When San Francisco adopted district elections in 2000, the cost of an average Council campaign fell from $188,000 to about $74,000.

REBUTTAL:
Maybe we are smarter than other cities.  As for the San Francisco election, much more information is needed here before a judgment can be made; but generally speaking, districting has certainly not kept big money out of congressional races or state legislative races.  And it’s important to mention here than candidates running by districting don’t get to choose their opponent.

THE PRO-DISTRICTING ARGUMENT:
NO NEW TAXES are needed for Charter Amendment 19.

REBUTTAL:
Not true!  With decennial redistricting, taxpayers will incur costs.

THE PRO-DISTRICTING ARGUMENT:
Join 45,000 of your friends and neighbors who helped place this measure on the ballot.   Vote YES on Charter Amendment 19 to ensure elected Councilmembers and future candidates are more closely engaged with you, your neighbors, and your community.

REBUTTAL:
Join your friends and neighbors who defeated districting in 1975, 1995 and 2003.  Let’s do it again.

THE PRO-DISTRICTING ARGUMENT:
Charter Amendment 19 is a good-government proposal with strong bipartisan support, including the Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, the King County Republicans, 46th District Democrats, Senator Adam Kline, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells, Senator David Frockt, Senator Sharon Nelson, Senator Maralyn Chase, Representative Gael Tarleton, Representative Mary Lou Dickerson (ret.), Representative Jessyn Farrell, Representative Gerry Pollett, King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski, and thousands of voters just like you.

REBUTTAL:
These pro-districting supporters are all incumbents elected by district.  No surprise!

Vote “NO!” On Charter Amendment 19

Statement prepared by Marjorie Rhodes and Herm Ross, Choices Not Districts

206.600.0141 voice mail

Email us at choicesnotdistricts {a*t} gmail {d0t} com

 ###

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s