Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Community Post: Independent Opposes Measure A

Commentary by Lanny Ebenstein

The Santa Barbara Independent is opposing Measure A in its edition today. The Independent writes: "Measure A is a fiscal quick fix masquerading as political reform." The Independent also says: "Call us parochial, but we're convinced there's something profoundly desirable in having the people casting their ballots in Santa Barbara city races focused solely on matters of local concern," the primary argument of Measure A opponents.

Measure A appears to be dead in the water. It is opposed by the Santa Barbara Independent and the Santa Barbara News-Press. Firefighters are mounting a big radio campaign against it, and police officers are conducting a mail campaign against it. The Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association and Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce oppose it. Measure A is also opposed by a broad spectrum of community leaders, from former City Councilmember Gerry DeWitt to former City Councilmember Dan Secord.

My guess is Measure A will go down to defeat in the range of about two-to-one. The Independent endorsement against Measure A also calls for considertion of district elections. Proponents of Measure A should, after the election, consider refocusing their efforts to district elections. They would find many of the opponents of Measure A eager to join forces with them in an effort to return district elections to Santa Barbara.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The opposition to Measure A seems like a nostalgic throwback to the monolith that was once Santa Barbara politics (and media for that matter, just 11 short months ago.) And, Holy Josephat, Gerry Dewitt is still alive? Where is GUS CHAVALAS when you need him?

10/18/2007 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, Lanny Ebenstein advocates for anything to depress voter turnout so his snowball chance in hell to get elected to Santa Barbara City Council turns into a water drop chance in hell to get elected if district elections for City Council ever return.

That way, Lanny, who is not a resident of the City, and never has been, can then rent another crash pad in whichever District suits him best to buy his way into getting elected only with about 1200 votes required per District to win a majority, as voter turnout would continue to be depressed with the status quo of odd-year elections.

District elections have nothing to do with whether the election cycle is during the odd or even years. Whether districts are good or bad is a totally separate issue.

Measure A would have zero effect on district elections, as WHEN voters vote has nothing to do with WHERE voters vote.

The only way Libertarians and their ilk can get elected in Santa Barbara is if voter turnout is low, campaign spending is high, and other special interests can yield more clout because their same amount of money is chasing fewer voters to influence.

As for DeWitt, he just thinks some voters are too stupid and should not bother to vote. He has said that and written that several times.

Has democracy failed in Carpinteria and other cities where their council elections happen during the even years?

10/18/2007 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

District elections will make the council dysfunction even worse with 7 people all running off in different directions with the entire city as a whole the loser.

Got to think of something a lot better than district elections. Like just throwing out the incumbents and voting in a greater diversity of input than we ended up with these last 4 years.

The Last Four Years: The Years of the Back Patting, the Rubber Stamping City Staff, the Obscene and Feckless Symbolism, the Out of Town Conferences, and the Years of Unintended Consequences that rapidly need to be cleaned up.

10/18/2007 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does Lanny keep harping on district elections?

This seems like he will say and write anything to deflect from what Measure A really is about, increasing voter participation and saving money for the city.

Why would Lanny be against that?

What does he have to gain by low voter turn out?

10/18/2007 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like if more people are voting, then the bad council members will not get elected in the first place.

This balot measure A will encourage more people to get out and vote.

10/18/2007 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is something from the commentary by DeWitt in the Independent last week:

This is really sad that Gerry DeWitt, who was elected by Santa Barbara City voters several times many years ago, thinks voters in Santa Barbara now are so stupid and uncaring.

DeWitt insults voters numerous times in his missive here.

Some lowlights:

--- "But if people are so disinterested that they are unwilling to learn about the issues and the candidates on the ballot, democracy is not better served by their participation."

--- "Those voters simply do not care about the vitally important local issues that Measure A proponents would have them decide."

--- "...since they are turning out to vote in the partisan races, they will vote for whoever their party recommends. That may be less random than tossing a coin, but in no way constitutes greater voter participation".

A simple fact:
Based upon the past 12 years of election returns in Santa Barbara city, the average voter turnout during even years is nearly twice as high (66.8% vs. 37.8%) than during odd-year elections.

Apparently DeWitt and his friends think those voters and citizens of Santa Barbara are not good enough or important enough for their vote to count.

For further detailed information and to help the low-budget, ultra-grassroots campaign for YES on Measure A, please see the website:

10/18/2007 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason to keep the off year elections is to sneak people into office while no one is paying attention.

It's a power grab by those who don't want the highspotlight turned onto the candidates. It's a means to keep those "in the know"..."in the power seats."

10/18/2007 11:12 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

This typifies what politics has become. It's all about trying to get an advantage. The thought of representing the people takes a seat way back in the bus to the possibility of pushing for partisan advantage.

If you were starting up a voting system and you knew that one option would double the number of voters and cost a lot less, would you choose it? That's what Measure A is about. Try to think outside the box of what's going to happen next month or next year. Open your mind to the fact that Measure A will actually enhance the principle that democracy is based on.

The Independent, the News-Press, and those with other self-interests throw a lot of crap around the issue to disguise the only important point. Democracy is based on the electorate voting. That's a non-partisan statement, and the one which should drive the Measure A decision. The other arguments against it are based on what people believe will help them out in a partisan or personal manner for the short term.

10/19/2007 6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so refreshing to see how Measure A Proponents are so open minded about the opposition! Aren't these high-minded "progessives" getting under your skin? I agree with the Independent, is this the best the "political reform" process could come up with?

10/19/2007 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are no artificial barriers to voting today for city elections. None.

There is no reason to speculate on different outcomes to boost voter turnout. Those who vote vote. End of discussion.

This is just one more city council hidden agenda here that needs to be soundly defeated. Something about this whole thing and its process and pro-arguments simply does not pass the smell test. And I can'tput my finger on why.

10/19/2007 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I probably oppose Measure A

I'd like like to point out that the last time Lanny opposed a ballot measure known as Measure A 2004 he was dead positive it was going to fail. Look how that turned out.

10/19/2007 9:02 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Please. It saves money. Enough said.

10/19/2007 11:47 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

Lanny also claimed that the Repubs would route the Dems in 2006.

As for the Independent's argument: "While the fix is real ...". Yes, indeed it is. That it doesn't fix a dozen other things is no reason to vote against it, resulting in "problems [that] will have to be sorted out down the road". Unfortunately, a lot of people won't read the fine print, and will vote against A just because the Indie told them to.

10/19/2007 8:31 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

I'm going to take a stab here, and ask if the response on the blogs and in the press from the person known as 'Yes on Measure A' may have turned some folks against the Measure.

Every time I gave my opinion, I was told that I have some special interest, or that I have some self-interested reason to hold my belief. Everyone else who opposed the Measure was treated the same, as though they were evil, conservative, rich, power-hungry developers.

I don't know who the writer is, but if 'Yes on Measure A' was anyone at the forefront of this Measure, I would suggest next time putting a muzzle on him/her. Anyone hoping to put a ballot measure up for vote, or looking to pressure the Council toward certain policy, would do well to make this person nothing more than a backdrop. As a spokesperson, they really do a horrible job of winning over those folks on the fence.

Even after I said I was a Democrat, I got trashed as having some other agenda. This isn't how you win folks who are on the fence, and it's not how you change peoples' minds. I figure most people didn't like the Measure on substance, but this certainly didn't help, this "with us or you're an a__hole" brand of debate.

10/19/2007 9:01 PM  
Anonymous money isn't everything said...

Well, Barbara, if money is all that counts, then support Measure A. After all, the almighty dollar trumps everything here in the good ol' US of Aholes. That's why we go to war to defend the profits of huge corporations. Right????

10/19/2007 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Yes on Measure A said...

Why would anyone oppose Measure A?

While some opponents continue to feign ignorance about cost savings and actual voter turnout data, many others who oppose Measure A eventually acknowledge that turnout will be significantly higher through the shift to even-numbered election years. However, as they further grope for reasons to oppose Measure A, they typically then admit --but only in private or through anonymous comments, except for DeWitt and Francisco-- that the “wrong kind of voters” end up voting more often or those voters “do not know what they are doing” or words to that effect. Basically, some people oppose Measure A because they think they gain a political advantage by low voter turnout, or they know they actually do gain political advantage. In a true democracy, voters who bother to vote always are the right kind of voters.

Do the opponents of record against Measure A think that higher voter turnout would be bad for Santa Barbara?

Yes, apparently they do, based on what they have said in published articles. In a Santa Barbara Daily Sound interview published on August 29th, one of the people who signed the Argument Against Measure A, James Kahan, said: “Turnout figures don’t mean anything. Numbers don’t really do it.” The Daily Sound writer concluded that Kahan “also said an increase in voter turnout shouldn’t be automatically accepted as positive”. Furthermore, in their carefully-worded rebuttal argument, promoted by Santa Barbara News-Press and published as its August 28th editorial, the opponents of Measure A wrote: “Bigger turnout by itself does not mean better.” Clearly, the opponents of Measure A believe that some voters are more important than others and some voters possibly should not vote at all. That attitude is cynical and undemocratic.

10/19/2007 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eight santa barbara said...

I think it’s hard for some of us to understand why people wouldn’t want to double voter turnout. The vote is so fundamental to Representative Democracy…some people may get a little carried away.

10/20/2007 5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eight Santa Barbara,

The appalling tone of the Yes on A spokespeople has certainly turned people against the Measure. The comic sight of the Off-Leash "analysis" portion of the candidate profiles is sure too leave people wondering "Is this who I am siding with?" Nice work, you killed it.

10/20/2007 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would this whole issue have been viewed differently if the sitting council members limited their terms to 3 years instead of anointing themselves for 5?

That alone smacks of unacceptable arrogance, rather than democratic nobility. Had they presented this in the spirit of self-sacrifice for the esteemed principle of it all it might have gone down better.

But the insulting arrogance granting themselves another year to keep doing the damage they have already done in just their short time togehter made Prop A the most over-reaching, self-serving, non-grass roots ballot proposition ever presented.

I guess they got carried away with their pay raise proposition side-stepping the voter initiative process and they wanted to cram this one down as well.

The great irony is the no votes on Prop A are going to take down all the incumbents at the same time. The incumbents are so out of touch they created and swallowed their own poison-pill, instead of creating their own golden parachute.

10/20/2007 7:57 AM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

I haven't read what "eight Santa Barbara" said. Evidently, he/she didn't help the cause for Measure A. That's too bad, because this is something that should be debated on logic rather than emotion.

I don't understand why having a significant increase in voter turnout at significantly lower cost is a bad idea. Unless, of course, there are short-term political considerations that push the decision. You could bet your life that the News-Press would oppose it because of their dislike of the Mayor and some current council members. (Just as they would favor it if Armstrong's goddess, Harriet Miller, were still in office.) That's the problem. This is an oppoortunity to improve the workings of democracy for the long term. Is it impossible to forget short-term political hatreds in order to put in place a better, more representative system?

Can someone who opposes Measure A tell me, from a non-partisan perspective, why the goals of Measure A are not better than the current system? And I'm sorry, if you're going to say that Santa Barbara voters can't handle local and state and national issues on the same ballot, you'll also have to explain why we're dumber here than most other places that seem to have no problem with even-year elections.

10/20/2007 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stick a fork in it. Conklin is backing away, he doesn't want to get associated with the attacks dogs at Yes on A. Das was about as lukewarm as you can get on the Off-Leash program. The League seems to regretting their decision. The Independent moved away from it. "Vote with us or you're stupid" doesn't seem to working as a call to arms for Measure A. Next....

10/20/2007 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who still hasn't made up my mind on Measure A, I will say that the sarcastic, arrogant, self-righteous, polarizing tone of the "Yes on Measure A' proponents---one in particular--- has tainted my view of the proposal. Delivery is everything. and such delivery doesn't sit well among open-minded people.

10/20/2007 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Yes on Measure A said...

Why do the terms of the Council members need to be extended by a year?

A one-time, 1-year addition to their current 4-year term is necessary to transition and catch up with the even-year election cycle so the benefits of Measure A can be attained.

Therefore, the election originally planned for 2009 would be shifted to 2010, and City elections would be held every 2 years after that.

Why not just reduce the term lengths of the Council instead of adding a year?

While perhaps a nice idea for some who dislike the Council for other reasons, that would mean the next City Council and Mayoral election would happen again only a year later in 2008.

More importantly, reducing the term of a Council member or Mayor by a year would cause Constitutional and other legal conflicts, because the voters in prior elections intended for the current Council members to be in office for at least the full length of the term for which they were elected.

10/20/2007 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Yes again on Measure A said...

Regarding the above quip:
"side-stepping the voter initiative process and they wanted to cram this one down as well."

Say whaaat girlfriend?!?!
You got it all backwards, babe.

Do you mean that Measure A be better if it got on the ballot through an initiative process instead of placement on the ballot by the City Council?

The ultimate test of a democratic idea is what all the voters decide through a vote on the ballot, instead of what some voters first request through signatures on a petition for an initiative that later may get on the ballot, maybe.

Instead of debating the real issues of increasing voter turnout and saving taxpayer money, opponents of Measure A have brought up this irrelevant question by posing whatever complaint they can imagine to see what sticks.

Ballot initiatives are designed to promote a policy or position that the legislative body first does not have the courage or smarts to place on the ballot itself.

The City Council placed Measure A on the ballot directly, instead of being forced to do so through an initiative process, which would have been a backwards approach.

10/20/2007 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the league of women voters hasn't "stepped away." they wrote an opinion in the Sound and they have an add on the indy website. you just can't stand that Yes On A is based on facts. 1) saving money 2) higher voter turnout 3)county run the elections. what's left? your poor opinion of the voters of Santa Barbara.

10/20/2007 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

broad spectrum against A. ok.

but there's also a broad spectrum in support of A accordint to their website.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Santa Barbara Chapter

Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County

Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County

Fund for Santa Barbara

Green Party of Santa Barbara

League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara

Progressive Democrats of Santa Barbara

PUEBLO (People United for Economic justice Building Leadership through Organizing)

Santa Barbara County Action Network

Tri-Counties Central Labor Council

Women's International League For Peace & Freedom, Santa Barbara Chapter

10/20/2007 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan Secord & Lanny Ebenstein say "no." I guess I'm voting YES. I was anyway -but that closes the deal!

10/20/2007 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And just how is Conklin "backing away" and how is the League of Women Voters "regretting their decision?"

Former Mayor Conklin will explain to anyone why he continues to support Measure A and the long history of low voter turn out.

The League is now buying ads in support of their endorsements for Measure A.

Spin is one thing at these blog comments, but flat lies are another.

10/20/2007 3:53 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

That is a list of great organizations. And though I hate disagreeing with them, on this point I would ask one thing of you, or anyone else.

Take all of those organizations and list the Board Members, and those on committees within each organization.

Then take a membership listing of each of those organizations you list.

You will see many names pop-up more than once, more than twice. A member of any one is likely to be a member or on the board of any other. Memberships in that list overlap many times over.

There isn't as much diversity in that list as it seems. For sure, the list is full of great organizations and amazing people. But you just about covered the totality of "big d" Democratic activists in the City, and all you had to do is list a dozen or so groups.

This might be why each group is in favor of the Measure, because some folks get to vote their support more than once. Voice support in one group, a day later voice support in another, and so on and so forth.

Either that, or I'm completely wrong. ;)

10/20/2007 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to blame "low voter turnout" on the timing of the city elections is like trying to blame everything that is wrong in this city on "lack of affordable housing".

How you define the problem, is how you define the solution and that is not necessarily factual.

People vote who vote. What you get is what you get. If people are interested in city elections, then they vote.

There is no evidence just because they might vote (with or without interest or knowledge or concern) on a general election year, this is somehow proof Measure A is a good and necessary thing. No proof. Just numbers of voters OVERALL is not proof enough for this is an appropriate city issue.

The Pro A people who want to understand reasons for the opposition: please tell me where I can find the following information:

1. Is there a discrepency in the numbers of voters who submit ballots, and those who in fact actually vote the entire ticket during general election years.

This is critical to your argument: it is reasonable to assume you may still be getting a smaller number of voters who actually vote for the city offices EVEN IN A GENERAL ELECTION YEAR.

Then what scam justification will you use? Something still smells wrong here.

I will still have to go by the suggestion this gimmack of extended terms fed into some sitting council members future political agenda and for no other good reason. That makes sense to me because the other arguments are so specious and insulting.

Why not a 3 year cycle time, instead of a 5 year cycle? No one has answered that one for me and they must. It would make the nobility of the other pro-arguments stop sticking in my craw.

And the brilliant request from another poster as to what exactly will happen to this "saved" money also remains unanswered.

We taxpayers don't mind spending money on something we value and I for one value very much having off year city elections. I truly do. I want the sole focus to be on the city. I would hate to give that up. Can you hear me? I hope so.

I value voting and I take it seriously. I don't need gimmicks to get me to vote and this is what Prop A smack of which is one more reason I find it so offensive. People vote who vote. And nothing stops them from voting.

You have made it as convenient as possible. Electronic voting will make it even more flexible and cheaper in the future so I simply do not understand the urgency to ruin our tradition of local elections as stand alone political events.

National events all too often distort how a ballot goes when it reaches down to lesser offices and issues. This is a fact. And you have not even addressed this ballot distortion that would ruin our local elections being appropriate stand alone events when we will and can concentrate solely on them.

People vote, who vote. And I want stand alone city elections and I intend to keep voting. I will pay the extra money to get them because I think they are that important. And never more so than the one we are having right now.

I could never give the sitting incumbents and extra year. I have waited too long to see them defeated. How can you take that opportunity away from me and make me like this? Why are you only thinking of some hypothetical voters who you think may or may not all the sudden materialize for city elections on general election years when there are real voters right here and right now who want to vote immediately to deal with this current crop of incumbents?

Do you see how hurtful it is to have to try to see things your way when we so very much want our shot to get rid of this current pack?

Please learn from Robert McNemara in his Lessons and Tragedies of the Vietnam War Lesson One: Empathize with your enemy.

All you ask over and over again with the same flawed and specious arguments is that we see things your way. Please don't take away my right to get rid of incumbents in a timely manner and dishonor that in fact I do vote.

I hope this helps you "get it".

10/20/2007 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you argument is that: more voters = more dumb voters.

santa barbara voters must be especially dumb since they're the only ones in the county that need even year elections to be able to "focus on local issues."

come on...if we're going to try representative democracy you need to have a little more faith in our citizens.

if your so scared of the voters maybe we need to go back to the days of pole taxes and literacy tests. maybe we should throw property ownership in to?

this is a reform. shifting elections to even years builds on past improvements that make voting more fair and convenient for voters, like extending the hours of the day when voting occurs, allowing permanent absentee ballots via mail, and maintaining the number of polling places where ballots are cast.

the facts are 1) more voters 2) saves money 3) county conducts elections

what are your facts? an opinion that some voters aren't good enough?

10/20/2007 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

of course some people serve on multiple boards. that's why activism and coalition building flourishes in santa barbara...

10/20/2007 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:46 pm: your arguments are offensive. Please retract them. You miss the point entirely if you claim those opposed to Measure A only want "stupid and fewer voters".

Your straw dog arguments at our expense are really, really offensive and it scares the heck out of me because there is clearly some far more sinister agenda going on here that you are trying with your straw dog arguments to deflect.

Something simply does not pass the smell test here. Measure A will go down to defeat. The mess of the bi-lingual ballot is reason number one. You can't imagine how much that is irritating current voters.

English language skills are a citizenship requirement and that means at least being able to read a ballot.

10/20/2007 8:40 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

To: Anonymous 5:39: I don't need to answer the questions you raised because you have answered them yourself. You say: "I could never give the sitting incumbents an extra year. I have waited too long to see them defeated."

You've asked and answered your own question. The problem is that you are unable to see past the short term hatred you have. Answer this for me: If the current City Council were composed of people you liked and agreed with, would you then vote for Measure A?

If your answer is "yes", then your vote against Measure A is based on short-term and illogical reasoning. You've mutated into Travis Armstrong. You are blinded by factors that have nothing to do with the reasoning behind Measure A. You just want the current Council members to eat it, and to hell with any logic behind the Measure itself.

Sorry, that's pathetic. The members of City Council need the increased salary as much as George Bush needs the salary the President gets.

10/20/2007 8:44 PM  
Anonymous anonymous number 35... said...

I am not quite sure what all that confusing pontification was above from Anonymous number 31, but every criticism and clarification that seem possible to imagine already have been addressed in these frequently asked questions and answers I found at the Yes on Measure A web site:

10/20/2007 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:44: you yet again failed to read the full extent of the arguments before you set up yet again an offensive straw dog argument - that one hates the current city council is the only reason to be opposed to Measure A. Wrong.

I would be opposed to it regardless and even if the current council had only given themselves 3 years, instead of 5.

I want stand alone city elections more than anything else being offered here. I want the full attention paid to local issues. I don't want any distortions brought to our critical city issues from national and statewide events, moods and non-local issues.\

Plus your "hate city council members" argument fails because unknown future members will benefit from this as much as sitting incumbents. Please, think through your arguments.

I think off-year city elections are enlightened. And I do not want you to take them away from me.

The city was told by the grand jury to look into district and a hybrid executive position as a means to increase voter turn-out. The current council rejected this out of hand and came up with Measure A which was not even on the table as a reasoned response offered by the grand jury.

The city council needs to be far more concerned about the reasons for voter turn-off, than voter turn-out.

Too many years of lock-step control by progressives who forgot their conservation roots and have trashed this city with failed and unaccountable social programs have shifted the voters to looking for more conservative alternatives which were rare to find in past ballots until we ended up with this totally progressiveand wholley unresponsive out of touch council.

Finally, there are conservative alternatives on the ballot. You will see plenty of voter participation this go around. Your problem is solved. Voters simply got turned off by not having credible alternatives to vote for. And that basic reason has been totally overlooked by the pro-A crowd which has only the preservation of more failed progressive "leadership" as their agenda using any deceptive means possible.

If a political agenda stinks, and there are no alternatives then the voter turn out suffers.

See how much voter turn out increases this time because there are credible alternatives --at last.

10/21/2007 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason all the city employee unions are against Measure A is they want a smaller group of voters so their campaign dollars paying for all the annoying glossy mailers has to reach fewer people.

But they fail to appreciate from this election on, the internet controls candidate access; not their cheesy glossy mailings. They are pissing in the wind on this one.

10/21/2007 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:40 said...
"7:46 pm: your arguments are offensive. Please retract them. You miss the point entirely if you claim those opposed to Measure A only want "stupid and fewer voters"."

i do not miss the point.

everyone agrees that Measure A saves money and increases voter turnout.

most people say higher voter turnout is a good thing.

what's left?

your opinion that even year voters can't handle local issues or partisan influence.

every other city in the county has even year elections.

so your faith in santa barbara voters must be particularly low.

10/21/2007 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How would city issues get "buried" on the ballot if the voter turn out is almost twice as high during even-year elections?

If more people are voting, then how is the city council race hidden, buried, or lost in the shuffle?

What else is the ultimate test of how much attention an election receives than if people bother to vote in it? Just what is the definition of how an election gets buried?

Are these people who make up any chit against Measure A really proposing some kind of voter literacy test before a vote can count? What is to fear from a big boost in voter turn out in Santa Barbara?

If voters first had to watch both hours of "Chewing on the Candidates" first, then would they be, to some, thusly qualified to vote during an even-year election?

This all seems why nearly all of the opposition against Measure A really is about keeping voter turn out low so a more narrow range of special interests stay so special.

Also, it is just about some people simply pissed off at the city council so they will oppose anything the council is supporting, such as Measure A.

10/21/2007 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hihger turnout regardless is not necessarily the only voting virtue, as you state. The very best virtue is voluntary and willing voting by an informed electorate.

Measure A does nothing except speculate it will increase volume, coat-tail city voting on national/statewide elections.

Your pro-arguments sound so hollow and unfounded that they make us suspicious something else is going on.

10/21/2007 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Pro-A people needs to stop speculating about the motives and justifications of the anti-A people.

You just have to accept we exist, are not convinced, and are even more suspicious the louder you scream at us and call us names.

You have had a fair chance to present your arguments. They are not convincing. Let the ballot box, and not name-calling decide this one.

10/21/2007 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one has shown Measure A will increase the numbers of city issue voters. They only claim there are more voters during the general election years. But no one has shown this will increase the numbers who actually go down the ballot to finally vote on the city issues.

Today we are guaranteed city voters because that is the only thing on the ballot. And that is as good as it gets.

Don't worry Measure A people - the turnout will be high this time because there is a whole new wave of voting concerns and alternatives this time.

You will get what you want - more voters, less cost and a clean sweep of those who put this stupid power grab on the ballot in the first place. Sounds kind of fitting.

So relax Measure A people - you got your wish. You are bringing voters out in drove just to defeat you.

10/21/2007 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is really insulting about the Measure A arguments is claiming the city will run a crooked election.

Please see the NewsPress opinion piece by city staff Marcello Lopez soundly defeating this argument, and rightly so.

That argument was defamatory. Who approved that and that is just one example showing the pro-Measure A people are the initiative's worst enemy.

The "annoying mailers" relief is far better corrected by annoying candidates showing restraint with their union campaign dollars, which has always been behind these mailers.

Another totally insulting pro-argument which shows Measure A people think very little of the voters intelligence right now.

And those are just a few of the reasons this ballot proposition stinks. It will go down to an astounding defeat and send the progressives packing. And with a very large voter turn-out.

Remember, it was only a few months ago the incumbents scoffed at the idea there were forces emerging to take them on. The laughed that idea out of the water -- until they found themselves very much on the wrong side of the Blue Line.

How prophetic - this was their last act of collective arrogance.

10/21/2007 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Lanny Ebenstein said...

I certainly agree with many of the sentiments of Measure A proponents that bigger turn-out is better than smaller turn-out. Where we differ is whether it is better to have more frequent or less frequent elections. I think democracy is furthered if there are annual elections, even if some elections have less turn-out than others, than if elections were every other year. Two years would be a long time between elections. This is particularly the case with respect to citizens' intitiatives, most of which do not trigger a special election (which requires a higher number of signatures) but are on the next regularly scheduled ballot, which, as noted, could become two years away.

Measure A proponents, in other words, prefer less frequent elections to annual elections. That is a not unreasonable position, but annual elections are better, even if they also cost a bit more.

Santa Barbara as it has evolved is, per most of its inhabitants' view, one of the nicest places in the world to live. We should approach change carefully and tentatively. The burden is on those who seek change.

Finally, let me say that I attempt to avoid personal invective. This doesn't further the political process. Let me close by saying that I appreciate the thoughts and community participation of many of the Measure A proponents. While I may not always agree with their points of view, their views merit respectful consideration.

10/21/2007 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lanny's comment shows how much of a bubble he really lives in, or it is just another bit of spin to justify low voter turn out for some other motivation.

Voter Fatigue is a real effect, meaning that when elections happen too often people just do not bother to vote. The evidence is clear from the actual data provided by the county elections officials that the stand alone elections where the city is the only election have far fewer voters actually voting.

To Lanny, that does not matter, and his definition of what is a "better" election now so clearly does not include higher voter turn out because more people actually voting now also so clearly is not what democracy means to Lanny.

One would think Lanny and wants low voter turn out to persist for some other reason. What would that be?

10/21/2007 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The swiftboat-type attacks on the No on Measure A folks have motivated many people to vote to make sure this measures, as well as its advocates, get defeated big time. This isn't the way we play politics in SB, and the "clean elections" group might learn their lesson about when they go down in flames. Smearing your political opponents is not clean, and it's really dirtied their image.

10/21/2007 5:35 PM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

Measure A will not make more or less frequent elections. Elections now are every two years; if Measure A passes they will still be every two years.

Measure A was not proposed for the purpose of increasing voter turnout although it may have that beneficial side effect.

The purpose of Measure A was to reduce the overwhelmingly high cost of odd-year elections. Because all the other jurisdictions in the County have shifted to even-year elections, the full cost of the odd-year election is now born by Santa Barbara City alone.

I will be voting for Measure A because I don't see that the slight benefit of having our elections all alone where they stand out in people's minds is worth the price. I think people are smart enough to pay attention to a larger ballot, and I think we should be spending our money more carefully.

10/21/2007 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all becoming pretty clear that the opponents of Measure A are losing the arguments based on the facts, so they now are trying to play the victim while blustering about how they will defeat the ballot measure on a two to one basis.

The questions by johnsanroque still need to be answered. Yes, facts are stubborn things, and the facts still are there and not changing no matter how the opponents of Measure A cry about it.

As for wineguy, elections actually are every one year, because the city election happens during the odd years and the everything-else election happens during the even years. Thus, an annual election for something happens in Santa Barbara.

True that the fiscal savings was the initial inspiration for shifting the city election cycle, but a boost to voter turnout is a bonus that for some people is the more important reason. Either way, democracy and the budget win.

10/21/2007 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any speculations how Measure A proponents will accept a defeat? Will they claim it was an undemocratic vote?

Time to stop the endless round of pro con arguments which are not changing anyone's minds. Time to discuss the grace of becoming a good loser on this issue.

Yes, it will go down with at least a 2-1 margin. Voters are really in an angry mood. You saw this with Measure D and you see it in the range of opponents that seemingly sprang from no where.

Anger is what is on the table this round. Measure A power grab taps into that anger just like the Blue Line did.

The chips will all fall in November. Everyone is just blustering now because the votes have jelled. All sound and fury now, signifying nothing because real votes are getting cast.

10/21/2007 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Facts don't win or lose elections. Perceptions do. And if you don't know this, you should stay out of politics.

10/21/2007 10:41 PM  
Anonymous With friends like these... said...

Is this supposed to be helping their anti-A efforts? Some highlights from a supporter:

Letters: 'A' is for council against voters

Leonard O, Santa Barbara

October 22, 2007

Measure A is a failure. I invite everyone to vote "no" on it.

Measure A has nothing to do with the people on the council or the candidates. It is about the need for elections at all. Measure A says we don't need elections, and that is where everyone should disagree.

It is the only proposition on a very short ballot for the Santa Barbara City Council, which is sponsored by the city, for the city and against the city.

Hitler isn't in power yet, but one wonders what kind of mind would want to endorse Measure "A" if it means no elections until 2010, if then.

Do you want elections or not? Please look into the future of your city and try to stop Measure A before there is no way to stop things.

10/22/2007 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Lanny Ebenstein said...

A few more thoughts on Measure A, electoral reform, and district elections.

I really do believe that most of the people pushing it are sincere. Accordingly, I should ask them the following questions:

Republicans regularly poll 35 to 40% in city elections in recent years, and yet there is not a one on the City Council. Latinos are about 30% of the city population, and yet there is not a one on the City Council. Would district elections be the electoral reform that would be the most likely to change these circumstances? More fundamentally, if any Measure A proponents care to respond, is it a problem that the current system results in disenfranchisement of 35 to 40% of the city politically and 30% of the community ethnically?

10/22/2007 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Lanny keeps repeating his same distraction to avoid another question about why he wants voter turn out to be low, here is the same response about district elections.


When people vote has no effect on where people vote, in districts or not. Voter participation will be low during odd-year elections regardless of whether voters are in districts or not. Conversely, voter participation will be high during even year elections whether voters are in districts or not.

10/22/2007 8:09 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

7:46 pm: your arguments are offensive. Please retract them. You miss the point entirely if you claim those opposed to Measure A only want "stupid and fewer voters".

Talk about missing the point! It is those opposed to Measure A, such as Gerry DeWitt, who complain that it will lead to more stupid voters.

10/22/2007 5:07 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

I really do believe that most of the people pushing it are sincere. Accordingly, I should ask them the following questions:

If you were sincere, you would talk about why you oppose the measure rather than changing the subject.

10/22/2007 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lanny carpet-bagging an apartment on the Westside like he did when he recently ran for mayor, and now wanting to run for that district would maybe put a Republican (Libertarian) on the council but it sure as heck would not put a Latino from that heavily Hispanic district.

And the point of district elections is what???

And are the old neighborhood designations valid political entities? Not at all. Plus there is now a whole new one filling with residents and voters: the downtown.

Don't see any benefit for district elections. Only things getting even worse.

10/22/2007 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's worth voting NO on 'A' just to get rid of the current pro high density council one year earlier.

The current council is heding in the wrong direction and needs to be replaced post haste.

10/29/2007 5:30 PM  

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