The geopolitics of_2012_gresham_oregon (1)

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The geopolitics of_2012_gresham_oregon (1)

  1. 1. The Geopolitics of 2012 Gresham Oregon Based on the Testimony Before Gresham City Council February 7, 2012
  2. 2. Gresham Citizen Ballot Initiative  A newly formed coalition of citizens is pursuing a ballot measure that would amend the City Charter to require the majority of city council members to be elected from at least six geographic districts  This citizen initiative is seeking the support of a broad coalition of community business and civic organizations and look forward to Gresham City Council joining this effort2 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  3. 3. Which Neighborhood Has A Voting Majority?3 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  4. 4. What does this Map Show?  Majority of council lives in one neighborhood  Large parts of Gresham are  not represented  grossly underrepresented  negatively represented  What is the trend?4 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  5. 5. City Charter Promotes Citizen Involvement in City Governance  The mayor and city manager are mandated to report annually to City Council progress on citizen involvement (Measure No. 26-86; 1998)  Would districts increase citizen involvement?  Does at-large voting decrease involvement?5 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  6. 6. Important Facts  At-large system is new since 1988  District size  1987 – 6000 people  2012- 105,000+ people  40% can kill a charter amendment6 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  7. 7. Unintended Consequences of At-Large System  High cost of running for public office  Vast majority of citizens cannot find the resources to run a successful campaign  Advantages those with wealth  Excessive influence of special interests  Uncontested council and mayoral races  Lack of representation  Less responsive to citizens  More responsive to special interests  Dilutes minority vote and voice  Low voter turnout7 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  8. 8. Impact On Neighborhoods  80% of neighborhoods not geographically represented  Rockwood residents were inadequately represented on the Urban Renewal Citizen Advisory Committee  Long history of City Council not engaging or being influenced by neighborhoods  Also, there are a significant number of neighborhood associations that are inactive8 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  9. 9. Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability  At-large election system  Means all 105,000+ of us are represented by every council member  Fails to make any one council member responsible and accountable for our district concerns, or those of our neighbors  No one council member is responsible or accountable to a particular citizen9 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  10. 10. Should We Wait for Voters Rights Act Litigation?  Discrimination today is more subtle than the visible methods used in1965. However the effects and results of “exclusive” at-large districts are the same  Do we in Gresham prefer to eliminate “exclusive” at-large voting districts and replace them with a “mixed form” of election system?10 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  11. 11. The Geopolitics of Political Power  Do citizens understand the potential discriminatory and negative impact of a majority of City Council and the Mayor residing in a concentrated area and single neighborhood and/or few neighborhoods?  How many citizens are aware that the city charter of 1978 election process had six districts and only the Mayor elected at- large.  Are we going to be a democracy in this city or are we going to be a democracy in one neighborhood?11 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12
  12. 12. What Can You Do?  Recruit 3-5 members of your neighborhood association to join this ballot measure campaign  Attend City Council meetings  To show support for this citizen initiative  Give individual (three minute) testimony in support of this charter amendment  Question council candidates about their position on this charter amendment  Contact:  Go to Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/goodgresham  Dick Strathern at strathe38@aol.com  Mads Ledet at ledet.mads@gmail.com12 Citizen Voice and City Council Accountability 03/14/12

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