Absence of Voting Districts Creates Serious Representation Issues
Absence of Voting Districts Creates Serious Representation IssuesIssue Statement: Citizen concerns and views that have been brought to myattention over the last six years on voter representation in Greshamand may be of interest to the City Council. How widely the concernsand views are shared we cannot determine due to the lack of citizenengagement by the City Charter Review Committee, but we believethey are worthy of the City Council’s attention. This problem and citizen representation issue is due to thedissatisfaction with the current state of affairs and is resulting inpetitions being circulated that seek to change the way which we electCity Council members. Whether or not this issue ultimately appears on a ballot, werespectfully encourage the City Council to consider researching andinvestigating what is at the root of this dissatisfaction inorder toexplore potential remedies and enhance the current voting system inplace. The following items comprise some of the key elements of thisissue statement. We need to determine which of these elements arefacts and thereby eliminate the argument for the current status quo! 1) What number of Gresham Citizens strongly believe that the current method of electing members of the City Council does not provide adequate representation of diverse views and groups? 2) Does this readily admitted given above due to a lack of diversity in representation causes City Council members to be less accessible and
responsive to those not adequately represented by the current electoral system?3) Do many citizens perceive the current electoral system being the root cause of the high cost of campaigning placing this level of citizen engagement and involvement outside the resources of the ordinary citizen?4) Some citizens believe the City of Gresham should do more to level the playing field in financing and limiting of campaign costs including access to television and lowering the maximum contribution allowed to campaign? What is your opinion?5) Does the current electoral system contribute to the downtown being a disproportionate beneficiary of the city’s public investment in facilities and services? Does this perceived bias deprive neighborhoods of essential investment and services?6) The balance of power between the mayor, city council and the city manager can change based on the electoral system. There is a lack of clarity and citizen understanding on the part of all of the impact of a majority of City Council and the Mayor coming from a single location and neighborhood? Would a mix of voting districts and at-large elections resolve this issue?