Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, August 13, 2007

Measure A: Council Election Change

With all of the clearly election-oriented comments recently, I hesitate to point out that the Measure A ballot argument has come out and they do have a blog. Please read the arguments before commenting because this is longer term than November!

Also, review the voter turnout chart and notice how low it is on off-years when there is no other election. Participation enhanced and money saved -- such a deal!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to think how much more damage this council can do in that extra year. Best thing is to vote the 3 incumbents out, if Measure A passes giving anyone of them left (ahem) an extra year on council. None of the current occupants should not be unsupervised that long.

Tomorrow they will vote on the biggest land grab ever perpetrated in this part of the Western World - A huge shake down of big bucks (over $300K) for anyone who wants to build more than two units, if the builder does not turn one unit over for "affordable" pricing.

How can anyone sane think this is okay? Yet this is your city council in action: raping private property rights and throwing away a long tradition of hands-off our private lives in this town.

The action your city council will be taking tomorrow confiscating your private property rights should lead to impeachment of all of them. Because it sure is not going to do anything for global warming.

I don't buy the current buzzword "incrementalism" either - ("we just gotta do sumthin") but what will fly around city hall tomorrow while the city council falls all over itself trying to pat themselves on the back for "doing something" for global warming.

We have sunk this low. The inmates are running the assylum. NO on Measure A.

8/13/2007 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will wait until the Taxpayers Association tells me how to vote on this measure; thank you.

8/13/2007 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The measure seems fine except the part about increasing voter turnout. Do we really need to do that? The fewer voters the better.

8/13/2007 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do inclusionary housing policies have to do with nearly doubling the voter turnout in the city?

That is what Measure A would yield, in addition to saving nearly a quarter million dollars per election.

Read the actual ballot argument.
Measure A has nothing to do with housing policies and property rights.

Has Karl Rove got a new job already with this extreme political deflection?

8/13/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd voter for it if the city council agrees to take one less year in office, not one year more.

God knows what they will do with the saved $250,000. Any clues?

How about if they declare in perpetuity that saved money goes to running a free election website for all city council candidates, city ballot initiatives and voter education to get out the vote and direction to this free website?

As well as running a city satisfaction website to poll the readers about "how are we doing" on various aspects of city life.

How can we voters ensure accountable city government with that saved money? Then I might want to talk to you about it.

8/13/2007 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letting the current kids continue to play in the city sandbox for one extra year has everything to do with risking more failed cheap housing giveaway boondoggles and stolen private property rights from this current pack.

Read first, then react. Thank you very much.

8/13/2007 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Dale said...

I think everyone should vote no on Measure A because the city already has too much money and instead should be spending the funds on outside consultants and the endless County fees to run the election.

Also, higher voter turnout is really dangerous, as that would mean the city council would be accountable to too many people instead of the cabal of activists who exercise their influence already.

The Taxpayers Association is all about taxes, so they must want the people to pay more in taxes and therefore they would think that Measure A is a bad idea. That is why Lanny Ebenstein, who is the Treasurer of the Taxpayers Assocation, initiated the vote No argument and signed it.

The Treasurer of the Taxpayers Association, Lanny Ebenstein, wants people to pay more taxes so the city can hire more election consultants and pay about $250,000 more than the city needs to pay for running the election.

Therefore, a no vote is the best choice, because the city already has too much money and does not know what to do with the money the city already has.

8/13/2007 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The overall voter turnout alone tells us nothing. How many people voted in the lower elections - there is a natural lower vote in down ballot races.

City Council races on even years means the small amount of attention the media has paid in the past (a few stories about debates and announcements) will equal nothing in the future with all the up ballot races - there will be more clutter in the mail and on tv - leading to a lot less attention - easier to buy an election.

8/14/2007 5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be nice to see the text of Measure A and not just the advertising in favor of it.

In this time of spam, unrelieved advertising, it does not give me much confidence if the backers are interested only in presenting their own opinions about the subject and not the subject itself.

8/14/2007 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

County Grand Jury recommended the city switch to district elections in order to get better representation and wider sense of voter participation.

Did the city council follow this recommendation to increase voter turn-out? No.

Instead they voted to give themselves more time in office to do more damage and keep the voters at bay with constant scoldings and fiscal irresponsibility that more than makes up for any alleged savings running their own in house city wide elections.

If the city council wants to save $250,000 stop all the out of town meetings and conferences which leave too big a carbon footprint and stop paying all the consultants for projects that only make the city council and staff feel good but end up doing nothing about. (Which may be a good thing)

And bring back the 5 day work week so city staff actually is accountable to its constituents on the constituents time and convenience, instead of slacking off on fewer extended days (with more time and excuses now for coffee breaks and being "away from my desk" whenever you try to get them by phone)

8/14/2007 8:01 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

anonymous 8:01... the reason the city went to the 9/80 schedule is to appease the global warming hacks like yourself. its was all about reducing emissions by decreasing the total number of commutes, and nothing more than that. the city actually has extended hours of operation with this schedule move so that although we get every other friday off, the overall number of service hours over a two week period is increased with the opening of city counters during the lunch hour.

anyone can see that Measure A is designed to reduce the cost of holding local elections and nothing more. it's not a power grab, it's about the fact that the city didn't want to pay the county a sum that amounts to blackmail for holding an election when no other elections are taking place. get a grip people.

8/14/2007 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This council has some nerve in the first city-run election in memory to try to change the rules in the middle of the game. The incumbents have done nothing to warrant another term in office, and the very idea of increasing their terms is yet another insult to the public. They must figure we're so used to it, we're numb by now. Not quite.

8/14/2007 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Filings for City Council closed on Friday, as you noted in the prior post. Does anyone know who has qualified to run, that is, who got the required signatures? Mayor Blum on her radio show on Saturday mentioned a list of names as filing and said that the official list should be ready by Tuesday. ...Perhaps it is in the SBN-P; it is not in today's Daily Sound.

Undoubtedly, we'll see more (signed) posts here from candidates. Interesting platform for one to be in a state of denial about global warming.

A big argument for me against Measure A is possible proliferation of those who are there for self-promotion such as perennial candidates Hackett and Hanson - although at least the latter has a genuine interest outside of himself in the homeless.

8/14/2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The money is not the reason.

The reason is it is easier to elect a horde of Das' in an even year election.

8/14/2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That $250,000 will allow the City to step up the fight against Global Warming. Great reason to vote for this!

8/14/2007 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I 100% support more affordable housing. Great reason to keep the current council.

8/14/2007 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we should give them 10 more years. This is the best City Council in years.

8/14/2007 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Lannny Ebenstein said...

I think the Measure A proponents are off-base. When I first heard of this proposal several months ago (before it became more generally known), it was more or less self-consciously put forward as a way for the incumbents to extend their terms in office by a year to pursue their ambitious pro-growth, increased density agenda and to carry out massive changes to the transportation infrastructure while deferring a vote of the people. In addition, it would be financially advantageous for all of the members of the Council and more convenient for Councilmembers who may wish to run for higher office.

These considerations, in my opinion, are what is firing the vitriol of those who are upset that Measure A is being opposed--it's not the $100,000 a year that proponents say would be saved and it's not higher turn-out. It's that defeat of Measure A primarily would mean that the existing Council would be deterred in pursuing its goals.

I think the argument of the Measure A ballot statement proponents--"Imagine a year without the repetitive ads and junk mail of an election. Measure A will give a year off to Santa Barbara voters"--is undemocratic. By this logic, why don't we cease elections altogether? Then, citizens would never have to worry about the repetitive ads and junk mail of elections, and would be free from the burden of elections altogether.

The idea that combining city elections with federal, state, and county elections would lead to a more informed citizenry is just wrong. City issues would be lost in the shuffle of presidential, gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, State Senate, State Assembly, state ballot propositions, and county supervisor elections. The point that though there is higher turn-out overall in even-numbered years, there is less voting in the non-federal, non-state, and non-county elections merits genuine consideration by those who are truly concerned about democratic governance, and not by those who merely wish to see the current Council's agenda pursued without another city election until 2010.

8/14/2007 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, the last day to file was Friday. Wasn't City Hall closed on Friday?

8/14/2007 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is going to be an internet election anyway. There will be no junk mail because everyone will be looking to the internet for campaign information.

The days of the police and fire and public employee unions buying the next city council are over. No need for their dirty money anymore paying for all that junk mail.

Next election predictions:(1) Defeat of Measure A and (2) throw all the incumbents will lose along with this blatent power grab. Mark my words. It is gonna happen. They first mocked there would be no opposition and then they hijacked the Measure A agenda - bit time losses all around.

No more affordable housing either. That train wreck is overdue and the new council will bring it to a swift and well-deserved end, along with all the panderers it supports with public grants.

Time to get this city back in its residents hands and stop all this public give away to people who don't vote here and are not welcome to set up camp here demanding handouts.

8/14/2007 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need a better union contract, remember who's supporting you.

8/14/2007 7:54 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

I agree with Lanny's points, and those mentioned by others. Specifically I agree that the City Council elections would be set to the side of other considerations like Federal and State-wide candidates and issues.

The turnout factor appears to be a misunderstanding of the statistics used. As others have suggested, it may be more people voting, but the things on which they vote is what matters here. And it is likely, more than people admit, that local issues would be pushed to the back burner by other election-year items.

One thing I would also raise in the discussion is that even-year elections are most often dominated by political parties and a handful of issues. I wouldn't want elections of our leaders affected even more by joining in slates with Democrats, Republicans, Greens or others. It would make our elections more about partisanship than about any local issues. As well, a controversial state-wide ballot initiative or heated two-way Governor's race could have our local candidates asking more questions about views on those items instead of, again, local issues.

I don't believe the City Council and staff to have raised the issue because of selfishness or a motive of personal gain. I think they honestly believe that this would raise turnout, but, more importantly, could give them some credibility on the 'fiscal conservative' front. But it appears that these are not enough when weighed against the negatives of losing out on truly local elections.

District elections in the City are best. The Golden Crescent is dotted with winners of Council elections past and present. If you want to know what kind of people would erode the Santa Barbarian way of life, you need only look in these neighborhoods. The act of dismissing the idea of districts within the City was, in my view, more about self preservation and private ambitions than almost any other single act in this Council's tenure.

Alas, fish don't see water. Anyone willing to point it out to them?

8/14/2007 9:09 PM  
Anonymous I did the math said...

One of you geniuses please explain how nearly doubling the voter turnout would be undemocratic and bad for Santa Barbara.

The web site for the Measure A advocates has a link to a big table of voter information data. The pattern is quite clear that nearly twice as high voter turnout occurs when the elections are combined with the state elections.

For all your creative complaining about how bad the city council is, are you saying that low voter turnout is going to make a council more responsive and caring to all your concerns?

Why is lower voter turnout a good thing? Measure A seems like it will remedy that while also saving the money that otherwise would be paid to the county extortion.

8/14/2007 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster demanding a better city employee contract, ominously warning to remember where your suport is: remember who your employer is - the voters and the taxpayers of this city. This is not free money for you.

It is money we give you to spend on the city infrastructure and our saftey and well-being; not for your job security and outrageous employment benefits.

And if we don't like how the council is spending it (and we don't), then we throw the council out and get some who will not be beholden to your cryptic union warnings.

Public employee unions exist to serve the taxpayers; not the other way around. Sleep on this.

8/15/2007 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To "I did the math": You overlook a critical argument. The Grand Jury told you to go to district elections to increase voter participation. You without any hearings or justification simply chose not to listen to the Grand Jury's advice.

By what authority then do you claim giving yourself more time in office and letting city elections get diluted in all the general election hysteria is going to do anything better?

Tell me. I am listening. I am sorry this sordid power grab is sounding more and more shoddy as facts and motivations come forth.

8/15/2007 12:06 AM  
Anonymous I checked my math said...

I ran the data through the Cray Supercomputer and the results still show an average of 1.8x ("nearly double") higher voter turnout during even-year elections than during odd-year elections.

My C++ programming output was debugged and the conclusion still is that the Grand Jury and the theory of districts elections still does not compute.

Again, why would higher voter turnout be bad for Santa Barbara?

Why is saving nearly $1.5 million dollars after 10 years bad for Santa Barbara?

Did Hugo Chavez confiscate your abacus?

Where is the "power grab" in making voting more convenient by consolidating the city election with the state and federal elections during the even years?

What are you geniuses afraid of?
Why do you not want more people to vote during a city council election?

8/15/2007 12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would make our elections more about partisanship than about any local issues.

Elections are ALL about partisanship.

Santa Barbara is a progressive town and needs to stay that way. That's the biggest reason to reelect the incumbents!

8/15/2007 8:01 AM  
Anonymous emily said...

Another problem with this ballot measure is that the City Council voted to refuse to allow the public to provide a rebuttal statement, a move almost unheard-of in election procedures. But then again, the City is running this election for the first time in memory.

8/15/2007 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is afraid of more people voting. Going to general election years will increase the hispanic vote which will then impact city elections. Is this what you are talking about?

But hispanics in town want more public saftely, good government, accountable officials, less bloat in city staff, fewer boondogles, no marijuana shops in their neighborhoods, etc, etc.

You are missing the point. Increasing the voters is not going to change a thing - no one wants this city council to have one more year to do more damage, neglect the neighborhoods, open the doors to every low-life out there to come and get a free place to stay in this town and watch gang violence take over every neighborhood.

No one wants to keep this city council one more day than necessary. No one is against increasing voter turn-out. More or less, you are going to hear the same message that those in office are still not listening to.

You sold us all out and we don't understand why. And all you do is scold us. That is why we want you out ASAP. NO on Measure A.

Stop trying to be cute just claiming you are trying to save us all money and increase voter participation. Just like the Blue Line fiasco, you simply are not listening to the deep frustrations driving these issues.

8/15/2007 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the future for online voting, going to some flawed local system ripe for abuse is only a temporary band-aid and should not be used as justification to give sitting incumbents one more year in office. That is outrageous.

One less year would have been noble. One more year is a blatent power grab, particularly when they are as unpopular as this crowd.

Did anyone on the council go out and stick their wet finger up to the wind before they decided amongst themselves in the back wind this was a great idea?

The city council is totally out of touch with its constituents. What happened to a group of nice people that made them so unpopular in such a short time?

8/15/2007 8:59 AM  
Anonymous anonymous no. 12 said...

Seems like the best way to keep the city out of running the elections is to vote yes on this ballot measure.

The county would take charge of the city elections if the ballot measure passes, because the elections would move to the even years when the county runs it.

8/15/2007 10:24 AM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

8:01am- You are right that elections are all about partisanship. I was expressing a belief that, in many respects, elections should not be about parties but about issues. For me this isn't about the way things are, but about the way they ought to be.

One thing I would disagree with you on, however, is your labeling of the current Council as progressive. I don't think you could really apply that title to the Council as a group.

-They have opposed District Elections that would put more power into the electorate.

-They have failed to control development by large and corporate entities at the expense of local businesses and the character of the area.

-They have failed to protect the architectural integrity of the town, approving a number of projects (see Chapala's maroon and vanilla, or the new buildings going up now) that lack true nuance and instead offer a cookie-cutter presentation of White Stucco and Red Tile, with some wrought-iron thrown in, in a poor attempt to mimic the grandeur of gems like the Courthouse, Santa Barbara Junior High, El Paseo, Arlington and others.

-Have sacrificed millions for parking lots and downtown improvement because of the demands of the downtown organization instead of making the areas diverse and inviting to families and those who live here.

-Have done little to expand the family-friendly areas of the City, or develop new areas of common and open space (all of our wonderful parks precede this Council).

-They couldn't do for public transit what $3.50 a gallon for gas did, failing to do much to improve public and alternative transit within the City that would make it affordable and convenient.

-They haven't improved the lives of the middle or working class, who's wages in the City lag behind other areas (San Jose is 2.3% more expensive but our wages are 9.3% less for a number of reasons), healthcare has not improved greatly, and transportation remains an issue.

-They have done nothing to improve the rights or representation of: women, minorities, the GLBT community, the middle class, or families

This Council is pro-environment and anti-war, pro medicinal marijuana, all Democratic. This does not make them Progressive at all. This just makes them standard Democrats. They are the local equivalent of the Democrats in Congress. They talk big, but when it comes down to it, they only act on a few issues (abortion and war for the Federal counterparts).

This Council is far from Progressive and, dare I say, far from effective.

Oh yes,



8/15/2007 11:05 AM  
Anonymous anonymous no. 14 said...

So how does keeping the voter turnout low help solve all those problems that are the fault of the City council?

If you want to get rid of the bad council members, then you need more voters to participate in the election.

The low voter turnout is the problem, and why people you do not like get elected and feel like they do not have to be responsive to all those issues on your long list.

If truth and justice are on your side to achieve all the goodies on your list, then you have nothing to fear from a higher voter turnout, which would happen with nearly double the number of active voters if the city elections were held during the even year election cycle.

That pattern of higher voter turnout, nearly double the number, is evident from the past 12 years of voter turnout results by comparing the voter turnout in odd years versus even years.

If you are mad at the city council for whatever reason, then would not the best way to get rid of them be to win an election with different candidates getting elected to fix all those problems?

8/16/2007 12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one fears larger voter turn-outs. Everyone fears giving this group majority one more year in office.

Do you get it now?

8/16/2007 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the voters had to think, they'd hurt themselves. That is why we don't need a high turnout!

8/16/2007 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The council still needs to provide higher wages and workforce housing. Giving them another year will help.

8/17/2007 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get active and tell all your friends Yes on A - let the Council finish the great work that they have started.

8/17/2007 5:57 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

Kind of an outside observation, but if these 'One More Year!' posts are real, this only proves the point that the change is more about a power grab for 'one more year' than it is about 1) saving money, or 2) higher turnout.

Just an observation.

8/17/2007 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous no. 20 said...

For the Eight, the posts are real, but how they represent real people in the real world is dubious.

Many people in politics have a lot to gain by low voter turnout, and the same people subscribe to the Karl Rovian school of pessimistic and disingenuous politics, by grabbing onto an Astroturf issue about fake outrage that the current council would, BY NECESSITY, have to serve another year so the elections can catch up to the cycle during the even years.

Low voter turnout helps candidates of a certain persuasion more easily get elected. Why do you think the Rovian Machine worked so hard to disenfranchise voters in Florida and Ohio, so W Bush thusly got elected?

The same spirit applies in Santa Barbara, with the No-on-Measure-A crowd willing to make up anything to justify the status quo that encourages low voter turnout.

All those true "progressives" are lazy voters, so the fake outrage about the necesary addition to a year on the council terms is really a motivation to keep the voter turnout low during the odd year elections. Low turnout means that candidates with the most directly targeted advertising secure the most votes.

It is all the more ironic and disingenuous because the fakely outraged movement to complain about another year on the council terms in office are the same city council challenger candidates who would enjoy a fifth year on their first term as well, if they were elected this year.

8/17/2007 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is this a power grab for the three running for re-election when the VOTERS will choose who will have a 5-year term?

Are we saying that voters would choose one set of candidates for a four year term but another set for a five year term? If this argument really carries any weight then it should only focus on the Mayor and the three councilmembers who won in 2005 - not this year's incumbents. And even in that case, I would really doubt that voters would have chosen differently in 2005 if they knew the term was for 5 years.

Get over it. The No on A people are just using whatever argument they can think of to strengthen their limited conservative power in this progressive town.

8/18/2007 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can't base the legitimacy of an election on high voter turnout. The Soviet Union always boasted about its 99% turnout.

8/18/2007 10:45 AM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

Thanks, anon 20, for that response. It is informative and considers things I hadn't.

One things I would ask is whether higher turnout necessarily correlates with a more informed electorate. I ask because I think, with so many other political commercials, political mailings, signs, bumper stickers and the rest, we may not have an electorate as tuned in to a local election. The attention people give to issues and candidates in ANY election year is limited, and I don't think it fair to assume that just because more people vote it means we have candidates chosen based on the best information. It may be, in fact, that the candidate with the most name recognition would do better in these even-year elections due to that candidate being able to have their name printed and spoken more often.

People who vote in General Elections, but not in off years, would be hard pressed to tell you who is on the Council currently (go out and ask) but they find it easy to be vote on Congressional and Presidential elections due to the fact that they can be passive in their involvement. It's easy to watch your favorite show and see a commercial about an issue, or to watch 15 minutes of news and hear a story about a candidate, or see a headline on the front page and see someone's picture. But having to go to forums, having to read through flier sent by different organizations, having to go and ask a question of a candidate who is shaking hands at the Farmer's Market or wherever... these require an active electorate and that does not exist in Santa Barbara outside of those who normally vote in City Council elections.

Voters, but especially the liberal ones, tend to be lazy about elections. Name recognition would help candidates during a busy and noisy General Election. Even a conservative of the same thread as Rove and Bush could use language and sound-bites to make it appear as though they are liberal and progressive. If they are well-funded, it means they will have their name linked to liberal lines, while their policy views are entirely conservative.

When there is noise and a reliance on names and passive participation by the electorate, money becomes more important than ever. Getting more people to the polls doesn't rectify what happens now. On the contrary, it exacerbates the problem.

Again, you see how many people support the current Council by calling them Progressive. But when you get past simple environmental issues and marijuana, this Council has an a record that leaves one questioning the definition of Progressive Politics. What is more accurate is to say that we have many Democrats in Santa Barbara who are only too happy to elect any Democrat.

7:53am, it may not be a power grab for those running in this election, but rather for those who would face stepping down in 2009, but who would get an extra year. That the Democrats and the Democratic Circle (the advocacy groups with the same members, same leadership, and overlapping platforms) in Santa Barbara would support the three incumbents in this election without pushing for true Progressive reform gives the perception that it is a near guarantee for them to be re-elected, thereby extending the term for our current Council.

4 of 7 would be granted an extra year, 3 of 7 are supported by the quasi-Machine.

I will agree with this, derived from your comment. Measure A will be seen as a referendum, a confidence vote, on the current Council. Good or bad, this is the theme for this measure.

Again, I am not conservative, nor a Republican. I am a Democrat.

8/18/2007 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No on A = Republican. Don't be fooled!

8/18/2007 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can say it all you want, but the demographics in this town have deeply changed. Owners of million dollars homes are conservative, not progressive.

City housing handouts for workforce housing number in the hundreds of units. Buyers of the million plus dollars houses are numbering in the thousands.

Rather than disparage the wealthy land owning conservatives who want to preserve the quality of life here and live within the severely restricted limits of this town, work with them rather than just flail away at them and name call.

If you are here, develop a successful strategy that lets you stay here. But if you still think the city owes you a free/cheap place to live in return for nothing but complaints and demands ...think again.

8/18/2007 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A million dollar house in this town is common, east side, west side, condo, etc. That doesn't make a person a conservative, it just means you own a home. Big deal, half are dumps and the town needs Progressive Leadership, not line their own pocket conservatives.

8/18/2007 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly do you mean by Progressive? Around here it looks like liberals who have been wooed by developers who finally figured out they had to co-opt dems so they could keep building in town. So the conservative developers started making big campaign contributions, supposedly caring about their new mantra of "affordable housing" and have contined to build the luxury housing they really want to build--which is where the money is. Look at the condo complexes on Chapala, new ones on Anapamu, Laguna Street, Casa Mina, Yanonali they're all luxury complexes approved by this council and not helping solve the "housing crisis" at all. The "progressives" on council don't even realize how they've been had. But plenty of us democrats who are moving away from the council of seven know better.

8/18/2007 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous no. 26 said...

So Eight, tell us again why low voter turnout is good for democracy.

You think voters during an even year election are not informed enough, so then what is your conclusion. They just should not vote?

You clearly are advocating that low voter turnout is good because those additional voters during the even year elections somehow would not vote the way you like.

You also do not understand that all 7 council members and the mayor would get a one-time extra year on their terms. It is not just the 3 spots up for election in 2007.

Why would low voter participation help lead to "Progressive reform"?

8/18/2007 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's put it another way. The new majority in Santa Barbara now are new home owners.

The non-home owners like to call themselves progressives, when in fact they just want a hand out at the expense of the homeowners who worked hard for that privilege.

New omeowners have little sympathy to extend those benefits to people who's only virtue is they demand getting the same benefits as those who had to work hard for them.

There used to be a lot of absentee landlords renting slum property cheap to progressives that allowed them a distorted sense of ownership of this community -- as long as someone else was picking up the bill for them.

Now a lot of those former slum properties got sold and fixed up and this new group of homeowners who are not rich or privileged by any means are becoming the new majority voice in this town.

So stop calling the new majority "rich and stupid". They are neither. They are earnest, sincere, hard-working and a strong sense of conservative values. They are the new younger homeowners and they are going to be here for a long time. You will have to absorb them, not insult them.

8/18/2007 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Anyone who thinks this is a conservative town doesn't get out of their house. There aren't any conservatives running for council anyway so keep what we have and move on.

8/18/2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

"So Eight, tell us again why low voter turnout is good for democracy."

Anon 26, I have to clarify.

I never said lower turnout was better. I believe that our Council elections will be short-changed by having to compete with so many other levels of candidates during the General Election. This will drown out the sound of debate on local issues. There is also the increased likelihood of partisanship. People already have a habit of pointing out the party affiliations of candidates and incumbents, and do so even before there has been real discussion as to policy positions and campaign platforms. I fear tying our Council Elections to the General Elections will make the partisanship, and therefore party influence on our elections, even worse.

"You think voters during an even year election are not informed enough, so then what is your conclusion. They just should not vote?"

Please don't present an alternative to what I say in this manner. You are choosing one possible alternative that is also one far from acceptable. That I point out voters are uninformed is only a reason why muddling our Council elections with the General Election is a bad thing. I do not point it out as a prescription for dealing with an uninformed electorate. Rather, it is because the electorate has so little time and energy to dedicate to election that I believe we should not add to the problem by merging the elections.

"You clearly are advocating that low voter turnout is good because those additional voters during the even year elections somehow would not vote the way you like."

This is a conclusion you made, not one I put forth. I have not said how I would prefer the voters choose the elected officials, I have, in this discussion, only stated that the act of choosing would be more difficult because of the problems created by merging the elections, namely the ability of the voters to be informed. I have no problem with higher turnout. I simply have a problem with undoing the prominence of our Council Elections.

The statistics are incomplete here. Higher turnout does not tell you whether people voted on all choices, whether they made informed choices. In this instance, those who are saying higher turnout is good for Santa Barbara are likely under the impression that these other voters will vote 'Progressive' or 'Democratic'. To turn your argument around, why would you think that higher turnout won't lead to less affordable housing, less environmental protection, less public transit?

"You also do not understand that all 7 council members and the mayor would get a one-time extra year on their terms. It is not just the 3 spots up for election in 2007."

Actually I said '4 of 7...[and] 3 of 7' which means 'the 4 who are not running now and who would otherwise leave office in 2009, and the 3 who are running now and would otherwise leave office in 2011.' I do understand that, and thought the paragraph was more clear, so I apologize if it wasn't as clear. Nonetheless, I do understand this.

"Why would low voter participation help lead to "Progressive reform"?"

Again, this is not a conclusion I made. You are getting in the habit of taking what I say and applying it to what I did not say. Please stop that.

I never said 'lower turnout leads to Progressive Reform'. You are making the mistake of merging several points and issues here. One is the issue of calling the Council 'Progressive' when, in fact, the Council is far from that. The second issue is that I don't see any real evidence that this will increase votes in our elections or informed votes in our elections. The third issue is that I believe the merging of elections will only lead to confusion and/or greater apathy in our Council elections by the voters. These concerns are separate, and should be treated as such.

Again, if that was not clear, I apologize. But, if it was clear, and you still chose to manipulate the context of my points, and make non-existent conclusions for me, and attribute ideas to me that are more yours than they are mine, then just please tell me what you are doing ahead of time.

I hope this helps clear things up. I know it's hard to read tone and inflection is not easily translated to text. It's also difficult because clarification can't be made immediately, leaving miscommunication and mis-perception out there to ruin a good discussion.

But I'm sure we can get to the heart of things before Sara gets tired and locks the thread. Right Sara? :)

8/19/2007 12:40 AM  
Anonymous I like to vote, Eve. said...

When given a choice, such as this ballot measure for a yes or no vote, why would anyone promote an election system that always has a lot lower voter turnout?

No one seems to be promoting how a bigger dose of voters would actually vote in their political preferences, but who is denying that far more people actually vote during the elections held in the even years.

Why is a choice to keep the voter turnout low a good thing for democracy in Santa Barbara?

8/20/2007 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's simple. The turnout for a local election may be lower, but more focused on the local issues. In a highly partisan general election, local issues tend to get lost. You may get more voters who want to vote for Prez, senate, etc,, but more of them may be less informed about issues of local importance--thus adding to the power of incumbency. Remember that the City is running this election for the first time in memory with this measure on it, raising the spectre of what the Measure A proponents say, "...having City staffers in charge of counting the votes for their own City Council bosses." Not such a deal!

8/20/2007 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This only thing that matters is that they vote democrat!

8/20/2007 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a democracy established the current election cycle, what is undemocratic about not changing it?

Don't you see you are talking down to us and we can see through to your original more self-serving intents?

Your arguments are not persuasive. People who vote, vote and nothing in the current system changes anything about a persons inherent right to vote. So don't play the "democracy" card.

So all things being equal, just as many people will vote as want to vote at any given time. All you get from this proposed amendment is additional unelected time in office for some, and a delayed termination for others that may benefit some of those who are proposing this very change in election timing.

So stop running it up the flagpole that being against this amendment is to be "against democracy". That is offensive. Please stop.

8/20/2007 11:07 PM  
Anonymous I like to vote said...

One more time, tell us all why a lower voter turnout would be good for Santa Barbara, and conversely why a higher voter turnout (nearly double) would be bad for Santa Barbara?

If making a choice to keep the voter turnout low is not against democracy, then what else is it?

Are all you anonymous critics actually afraid of the outcome of a city council election if the voter turnout were higher?

Are you anonymous critics trying to argue that the wrong kind of voters are the ones who would be voting if the voter turnout were higher?

What again is the downside to a higher voter turnout in Santa Barbara?

The ultimate test of how well a democracy works is that elections happen at all and how many eligible voters actually bother to vote.

More voters voting = More Democracy! That is what a yes vote on Measure A will bring about.

Also, the best way to keep the city out of the business of running its own election is to vote yes on Measure A, thereby shifting the election to the even years when the County then would run all the elections instead of the city.

8/22/2007 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to get rid of term limits and see better union contracts for City employees.

8/22/2007 12:39 PM  
Anonymous I like to vote said...

Term limits and union contracts have NOTHING to do with Measure A.

Nice try to confuse the issues.

8/22/2007 6:24 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

Honestly, if this is a Democrat, a Green, or anyone who has ever complained about the 'With Us or Against Us' or the 'Against the War is Against the Troops and is Unpatriotic' tags, this is bordering on hypocritical. This form a fellow Democrat.

We can be opposed to Measure A and still for democracy. We can hold two thoughts in our head, we can be nuanced in our opinions. Opposing Measure A is not the same as opposing democracy, and I hope you can see this.

More people going to the polls in no way translates to more people voting for the Council candidates. Voting for the sake of voting, and seeing this as the end-all solution at best and at least as promotion of democratic values, is somewhat misguided. It supports the theory that the act of voting is more important than any outcome, and places emphasis not on a candidate and not on issues, but on the act of voting.

This is similar to filling out a 'How Was Our Service' card at a restaurant and believing it makes a difference. The act of filling out that card is cathartic. And yet, it is likely that filling out the card means nothing if it is tossed away, is not reviewed carefully and if examination of policy and procedure is never carried out as a result.

Voting is ever important, and is the foundation of a democratic republic. But don't think that the act of voting is the solution, or that more people voting, without any other form of involvement in civil discourse or any other participation in holding government accountable, will necessarily make things better.

There is more to it than that. We are not bad people for thinking Measure A is a bad idea. A better idea i would be to make the change effective after any current incumbent can benefit from the change. If the change were to be made effective in 2012 or later, there might be, might be, less argument about an extra year for those who want this change in the first place. Giving someone else an extra year is easier to digest than giving yourself an extra year.

Congress, though there are no term limits and incumbents are re-elected at an astounding rate, cannot give itself a pay raise in the same term that such a raise is approved. A pay raise is only effective after the next Congress convenes. This, though only minor, helps lessen the appearance and likelihood of impropriety and corruption. But, even here, there is more to it than that.

I wonder if anyone has some quotes on the current Council's opinion on term limits. If any oppose term limits, this only adds to the feeling that this is about extending terms.

Measure A, when considered as a way to save money, is a decent idea. But there are also considerations to having the election calendar all to ourselves, to our own City candidates and issues. And there is consideration for this council approving an idea that, if passed, will extend their own terms (and with incumbents re-elected so often in Council races, it is likely the three incumbents running now thought their re-election was a shoe-in).

It is not the best or most complete solution to a number of problems, including expenses, voter turnout and apparent impropriety. And as such, I couldn't support it or recommend anyone support it.

8/22/2007 10:00 PM  

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