My Side of the Fence

The danger isn't going too far. It's that we don't go far enough.

A little local politiccccccs

Hey, so, I haven't written much lately.  I'm pretty wound up in my business and a few other boards that I'm involved with.  I am, for right now, the Vice-Chair of the local GOP and that's enough politics for me.  It keeps me a little involved in but not too much.  Kind of like when Grandpa hands that darling grandbaby back when it starts yelling.  🙂  In that role, a couple of things have come accross my desk and, as we have no paper, I thought that these items warranted a few words.

The first is the notion of giving the Mayor a vote.  Currently, the Mayor may break ties on all votes except those involving the expenditure of public funds.  This expanded "vote" could take the form of a a full-blown vote on everything or just an expanded vote to allow for breaking ties on "money votes."  Either would require a change in the City's charter.  This requires a vote of the General Assembly.  This issue has been around for a long time but has never made it past the discussion stage.  For my part, I think that the Mayor has a pretty powerful office to begin with so I'm not sure he also needs a vote.  A very useful byproduct of the Mayor not having a vote is that it does keep him out of the "weeds" during Council's public deliberations.  It leaves him free to guide the process.  Having been on the inside for 8 years I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the Mayor doesn't need a vote to get things done.  If we're looking to head off a budget stalemate by giving the Mayor a vote, we're solving the wrong problem.  Short-term thinking like that is why we are where we are.  Currently this idea is on the back burner but it'll come back at some point.

The other issue that I hear in the background from time to time is moving the election for local office to odd-numbered years.  I honestly have less patience for this one than I do the Mayor's Vote issue.  Background: recall that a couple of years ago there was a ballot referendum on moving the election of local officials from May to November.  The idea behind this was that there would be more people involved and the election results would more accurately reflect the will of the people.  This referendum was succesful and so the election of local officials was moved to November in the same year that Federal elections are held.

Before I left Council I heard this bounced around a few times and it was sugested by some that the City Council could simply vote to move the election to odd-numbered years so that they wouldn't be mixed in with Federal elections.  I was not really a fan of moving the election to begin with: I feel as though many local issues are simply lost in the hullabaloo of a Presidential election.  Face it, local issues like lousy maintenance of our public works can't compete with Trump closing borders, constructing walls and building databases.  Moving the elections a year would reduce this "competition for attention" somewhat.  In that I agree.  However, as this was a referendum, I feel as though another referendum is required to move the election again.  There is little more sacred in a democracy than the voice of the voter.  Having the elected body move the election by fiat violates that principle.  It just doesn't pass the smell test.

Just my .02

2 Comments

  1. Andy,

    I think your point is well made rearding the local elections being held on different dates than the national ones. One thing I would really like to see is that if a local candidate is running as a Republican and accepting Republican money and support, that candidate should support the other

    Republican nominees. This did not occur in the last election (or possibly it did publically, but it didn't take much to see through the weak attempt on social media). If one will critize Trump and possibly Carson for a possible independent run, maybe we need to clean our own house. Just sayin……..

  2. Andy, I think I and others agree with you 100% that if there is an issue directly related to City Charter such as the Mayor's vote, moving the election back to off years…and anything else related…should be a referendum.  The Virginia Code is clear on that across multiple issues that before the GA is petitioned, the local residents should have their say.

    Not a fan either of the move to off-year.  Haven't sat to do any comparison of how the number of votes for Mayor & City Council in a November election would compare to the turnout numbers of prior years.  One of those things to play with I guess if either there is a snowy day and trapped inside, or some Graduate Student from some University/College needs a project,

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