The truth about Measure P: Eureka’s fate in the hands of 1,800 people?

There’s a harsh truth that the proponent of Measure P aren’t telling you about. And it’s that they want to put the fate of the City in the hands of very, very few people.

As it stands, in a town with an estimated population of 27,017, Eureka gets roughly  one-third of those to turn out and vote. So,  in any given election, about 9,000 people show up to the polls. (Hopefully those numbers go up, especially considering it’s a big election year.)

In any case, if one were to divide that total number of voters equally by Eureka’s 5 wards,  that means you’ll get about 1,800 people voting per ward. That’s 1,800 people deciding on a leader of the City who, for four years, will be completely unaccountable to the rest of the populace.

Right now, Eureka residents get five votes for five Council members. For those of that can count, we can all easily recognize that – should Measure P pass – Eurekan’s will lose four out of the five votes they currently able to cast.

Got a problem you need to talk about? Well, “F*** you and go find your own Ward’s representative” will be the answer you’re going to get from 80% of the City Council. THC, and most people in general, probably like the number of “F*** you”‘s they get from elected officials to hover around the 50% mark

In THC’s mind, 1,800 people having such an enormous impact on a city of 27,000 isn’t wise, nor politically fair. We are all for the minority vote, and appreciate that Measure P’s advocates (may) actually want to represent minority voters better through True Ward voting. THC – and anyone who’s thinking honestly about it – realizes that there really isn’t a “minority” that isn’t being represented in Eureka, and there certainly isn’t one that will be better represented by

THC does kind of laugh when Measure P-er’s try to appeal to the City of Eureka’s exposure to a legal battle due to not having a True Ward system. Because A.) that’s straight out of the “righty” playbook!, and B.) they sure seem to be the people who file the lawsuits instead of attempting to “protect” their City and their neighbors from them. But oh well.

Another point that P-er’s try to dismiss is the difference in population between Eureka and other places in California – like Los Angeles – which employ the . Let’s be clear on the difference: Los Angeles, and other large municipalities, do have vastly different populations that are generally more concentrated in certain areas. It makes sense.

Of course, like Los Angeles, Eureka already has too much crime, drugs, and homelessness – THC doesn’t think Eureka needs to get infected with their political system, either. Look where that’s gotten them.

And look where it could get us – at a place where one neighborhood and a couple hundred votes could swing the entire future of the City in a direction that way more than half the population does not want.

 

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26 Responses to The truth about Measure P: Eureka’s fate in the hands of 1,800 people?

  1. LMOB says:

    The great thing about P, win or lose, is it is allowing our local “ole boys network”* to show their true colors. I would generally use the descriptor “conservative”, but being against P has nothing to do with conservatism or conservative principles unless that principle is maintaining power for those that deserve power.

    “There’s a harsh truth that the proponent of Measure P aren’t telling you about. And it’s that they want to put the fate of the City in the hands of very, very few people.”

    I would remove the “harsh truth” and add “amazing feature”. I would love to tell you and everyone else about the feature of returning democracy to communities.

    Question: Do more people voting necessarily make better decisions? Did you pay attention to the Republican primary?

    That’s 1,800 people deciding on a leader of the City who, for four years, will be completely unaccountable to the rest of the populace.

    But you will be able to un-elect them in 4 years. You can’t do that, for example, to local monopoly businesses. Our representatives ARE accountable because their terms are limited to 4 years. Again, this is a feature of democracy and government and not a bug.

    In THC’s mind, 1,800 people having such an enormous impact on a city of 27,000 isn’t wise, nor politically fair.

    Exactly THC. That is the truth. 5 votes is better than one because you don’t want the messy problem of actual people having a say or influence in government. This is important because paying attention to your blog content over the past months, one can’t help but notice that you pretend to be a voice of the people, of one of the economically downtrodden, simply here to protect the people from the excesses of the government.

    But when you have a chance to encourage your readers to return their excess votes (plural) to those that understand that Eureka’s system has been rigged …well…”We’d like to hold on to these actually. Our towns really too small and, btw, have you noticed the odor emanating from many of those 1,800? Are they really trustworthy?”

    Eureka’s electoral system is set up to make sure that a small group of pillars of the community (by their definition) have a disproportionate voice in our city’s government, representative democracy be damned. Measure P begins to disassemble some of that system.

    I get it, the thought of changing back to a fairer form of representative government is scary, but change often is, even if in the end we all will be better for it.**
    ________________________
    *Take a look at John Fullerton’s ad and note those endorsing him (the latest ran Tuesday on A3)

    4 old men on the Eureka Planning Commission, 4 old men on the Humboldt Planning Commission. God love old men, I’m one myself. The issue here is that there is a very small cohort of people, much smaller than 1,800 that is running our town. Measure P tries to get people’s voice back in government. Supports of the true ward system (Measure P) wish to spread the wealth of democracy.

    ** Take a look at this video. This is about voting rights because reminding people they do have an important fraction of the vote MAY help non-partisan registration wonks like me get our miserable registration and voter participation rates up.

    Like

  2. Sam says:

    NO on P!!!!

    Like

  3. Just Watchin says:

    When you spend time doing a long post on your own blog, and local loon HOJ is the only person that reads it, it makes sense to copy and paste on a blog that actually gets traffic. You should pay THC jonboy.

    Like

  4. Cousin Eddie says:

    LMOB,
    I might go along with your argument if your couldn’t set foot in all 5 wards in a 30 minute stroll downtown. Most of eureka is pretty much the same, a little of this, a little of that. your comparison to the county on the other thread is apples and oranges. the county has 5X the population and stark differences between the districts. and you can’t sit on one street and see them all within a mile. but, have there been fights over resources? Yes. remember when they tried to ignore the general plan dump all the low income housing in mck? oh yea.

    also, reading between the lines in your argument, it looks like you’re saying, “it will be easier for me to elect the type of people i like”

    Like

    • LMOB says:

      Take a look at the current topic in real time. A representative working for the good of the county against the wishes of many of his consituents. Holy cow! How can a representative pay attention to the needs of an entire county when he is voted in only by people in his district?

      “it will be easier for me to elect the type of people i like”. Nope. It will be easier for the people to chose who they like. They will be the judge based on their candidates efforts to meet and understand their needs. And yes, their needs will not be so provincial that they won’t include the entire city. I don’t know people like that, do you?

      Like

      • Cousin Eddiie says:

        So your argument is that by having to answer to less people the council will actually better represent more people. Interesting concept.

        Like

  5. Henchman Of Justice says:

    THC is censoring anything HOJ all-of-a-sudden gotcha!

    Like

    • Yes Jeff we are cutting you off. We just need a break from the gibberish for a while. Our consumption of Mike’s has gone through the ceiling trying to comprehend what your rants are about. We believe there are occasional nuggets of value but it’s just too painful to translate. Try back in a few weeks. Cheers!

      Like

      • Henchman Of Justice says:

        Just cut HOJ off for good then, no need to censor, hide the comment so others can’t judge for themselves.

        Inteteresting how cherrypicking goes.

        Good Luck at the bs

        🍻

        Like

  6. Marc Delany says:

    “Looks like what drives me crazy Don’t have no effect on you– But I’m gonna keep on at it Till it drives you crazy, too.” *― Langston Hughes *

    On Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 7:44 PM, The Humboldt Consequential wrote:

    > thehumboldtconsequence posted: “There’s a harsh truth that the proponent > of Measure P aren’t telling you about. And it’s that they want to put the > fate of the City in the hands of very, very few people. As it stands, in a > town with an estimated population of 27,017, Eureka gets rough” >

    Like

  7. LMOB says:

    Eddie, perfect timing. Hank Sims lays it out clearly in a recent post. What he wrote helps me to explain this.

    “So your argument is that by having to answer to less people the council will actually better represent more people. Interesting concept.”

    More accountable because instead of spread over 5 people, city wide, the representative will be accountable to one person WITH 5 TIMES THE INFLUENCE. That one vote matters more.

    So, if you have money or you vote regularly, or you would rather those that may have different ideas from you not have at much say, then yes, you should vote to keep your 5 diluted votes. If you believe in a representative’s accountability to you as a person, then think about P.

    THC and it’s readers regularly get upset at the status-quo government representative. This is a chance for you all to prove if you are serious about government for the people by the people, or, as I suspect, you all are just fine with government for the business and property owners, by the business and property owners.

    Because the alternative is Cousin, if we pass this, registration activists like myself will be able to remind people how important their vote is. And if they are voting locally, they will be more active in state and national elections too.

    Like

    • Cousin Eddiie says:

      I still think eureka is too small and homogeneous for this type of system. Why stop at 5 wards? Maybe 7 would be better, or 10? 20? Then you could really, really ensure that people are represented, right?

      Like

      • LMOB says:

        Another non-argument. This sounds like the Reilly defense of same sex marriage only. How could we allow same-sex marriages because we’d have people marrying ducks soon. We have 5, seems decent, shoot I’d argue with Mayor Jager to get rid of the Mayor position although when/if P passes maybe we both should re-consider as it might be significant to retain the one person elected by the entire city.

        Again, we are conservatives afraid to let the people actually have power? This is something that would really be enhanced with P.

        Cousin, I hope that you could admit this, along with THC and any other conservatives because it is the other side of the coin as you all fight to hold on to all 5 of your vote(s?!)

        You don’t believe in good government. (paraphrasing) “People who do believe in good government want everybody to vote. You don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people, they never been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, OUR LEVERAGE IN THE ELECTIONS QUITE CANDIDLY GOES UP AS THE VOTING POPULACE GOES DOWN.” Paul Weyrich for THC and Cousin Eddie.

        Will a local courageous conservative be as truthful as Mr. Weyrich or would that kind of truth make you all mad?

        Like

  8. Just Watchin says:

    Will the real Cousin Eddi(i)e please stand up…..

    Like

  9. Just me says:

    LMOB is totally uninterested in having a rational debate, simply dismissing concerns out of hand by calling it a “non argument”

    Eureka is simply too small for a true ward system and should go to an at large system.

    This isn’t a conservative/progressive issue LMOB.

    BTW, nice letter in the TS, neglecting to mention the HCDCC member endorsements Fullerton has, as well as several teachers and many other prominent dems. So nice of you to try to keep fostering the US vs THEM crap.

    Like

    • Cousin Eddie says:

      I can see that. He skips over what I wrote, brings in gay marriage and somehow decides i am against people voting. If I would only just admit it.

      Let’s take a step back: I think it’s a dumb idea because eureka is too small in population, size, and similar in demographics.

      i’m not interested in blocking people from voting or keeping them from having power, that’s a pretty wacky position to me. i don’t believe you can make an honest case that that is happening now, i doubt the makeup of the council would be much different, other than extreme nimby-ism.

      i could see it if we had areas of with people who weren’t properly represented – like in a large city where this actually makes sense.

      And finally, the laughable: “More accountable because instead of spread over 5 people, city wide, the representative will be accountable to one person WITH 5 TIMES THE INFLUENCE. That one vote matters more.”

      OK LMOB, you get one your representative, and let’s say they happen to be in the minority vote on a very important issue, lets even say it’s a controversial issue that has impacts in each ward (MAC, low income housing, walmart!!). You call the the other 4, email, hit them up for a coffee and you know what? No call back. “Contact your ward representative” they’d say. And they’d have to do that, to be true to their ward. Maybe they’d meet up and explain to you how, yes they understand your position, but that facility must go somewhere, and the people that elected him/her don’t want it there, they want it in your ward. And your representative doesn’t, but alas the vote goes through 4-1.

      They’ll never worry about losing your vote.

      Feeling empowered?

      Like

  10. LMOB says:

    “OK LMOB, you get one your representative, and let’s say they happen to be in the minority vote on a very important issue, lets even say it’s a controversial issue that has impacts in each ward (MAC, low income housing, walmart!!). You call the the other 4, email, hit them up for a coffee and you know what? No call back. “Contact your ward representative” they’d say. And they’d have to do that, to be true to their ward. Maybe they’d meet up and explain to you how, yes they understand your position, but that facility must go somewhere, and the people that elected him/her don’t want it there, they want it in your ward. And your representative doesn’t, but alas the vote goes through 4-1. “

    Yes, Cousin exactly. This is exactly the scenario that currently exists for me and many others a the County level. I don’t expect I should be able to have coffee and discuss expanding DHHS with Supervisor Sundberg, Bohn, Fennell or Lovelace. I do expect to be able to speak to my Supervisor and I understand that she is going to give me the time of day and that is about it. At least on many or most subjects I care about.

    So what do I do, I work my ass off to find others of like mind and every four years we will go to work to help Supervisor Bass find time for a longer vacation. I mean she deserves it after all.

    And here is the point. When discussing this with people who favor the current position,the argument is what is in it for me? Just like the paragraph above. Why should I not be able to hit up a 5 City Council people? The thing is Cousin, you might know people who care that much about local politics, but I don’t. Most people I know are struggling to find time or money to have fun and/or pay the bills. What percentage of the people in Eureka know who Marian Brady is? I think we’d be lucky if the number is 25%.

    The way this plays out is an at-large system favors those who are paying attention and/or have discretionary time and/or have a vested interest in the election. The added complexity dis-encourages those that have less at stake but may care about a million and one things that won’t be decided in any given year at the city level.

    The people you are empowering with an at-large system are those that already vote. Our local elections are in crisis if you haven’t noticed due to lack of candidates and lack of interest on election days. We need to find a way to get people involved again. Returning Eureka to a familiar and more basic democracy that is less vulnerable to manipulation from the powerful minority is a good first step.

    Like

  11. Just me says:

    You don’t address the salient point that Eureka, a city of less than 30 thousand residents is too small and as Cousing Eddie points out

    “Let’s take a step back: I think it’s a dumb idea because eureka is too small in population, size, and similar in demographics”

    You think you are somehow going to get more people to vote. Let’s just answer it in your own words – “Another non-argument”
    – Both Kim and Linda won elections by pounding the pavement getting out and talking to folks.

    Your final argument is ludicrous. You are feelin the BERN because not enough people are out voting, but you know what, that is their right. And somehow, someway, you think a true ward system will fix this.

    I’d be interested to know the percentages/ratios of Eureka residents to registered voters to actual voters and see how it compares with other cities throughout the state, country as well as how it compares with state and national averages

    BTW, LMOB, love the call outs for Loleta Resident and Fortuna Business owner Carol Connors to come phone bank for Austin. VOTE LOCAL CONTROL!!!!!
    LOLZ, NOT!

    Like

  12. LMOB says:

    Both Kim and Linda won elections by pounding the pavement getting out and talking to folks.

    Both Kim and Linda did not need gainful employment at the time of their elections. My employer finally did approve a part-time schedule, but in the end, I could afford the reduction in income.

    The system is set up, deliberately and with specious, not salient arguments, to make it very difficult for anyone but those with discretionary time or income to make a go at it. The one exception is Natalie Arroyo, but she is practically a perfect candidate and we are lucky to have her.

    Now to the specious argument. If we are going to contemplate how many people a representative should represent we would probably all agree 350 million is too many, not for a true democracy. What about the lower limit? I would say we should look to our own lives and experiences. How many people do you know? How many people have you known? What is that number where one person can meaningfully interact begins to have diminishing returns. I’d say that number is around 200. I’m not arguing for districts of 200, but if we are talking about a representative democracy I think we ought to take into account how many meaningful relationships a representative will be able to have.

    THC is afraid of the repercussions of allowing as few as 2,000 people to vote for a representative. My take is, that would be the gold standard of representative government. I believe with true wards at about 2000 registered voters we have a real chance of tackling real problems at a human scale.

    There is a canard that you all will throw around that for some reason. It is that a representative will forsake her interest in the city at large and to focus on the desires of their ward as if there is some kind of certain quid-pro-quo in democracy. I think, again, this is where we are simply very different people with very different life experiences and very different personal sets of ethics. If there was such a candidate that would say “I’m going to promise to fix the pot-holes on your street and promise we will not put that homeless shelter in your neighborhood” I surely wouldn’t vote for him, would you? I wouldn’t want the pot holes on my street to take the priority over others simply because they were on my street. I understand there will be some priority based on usage and condition and when it comes to it I would hope that my representative would choose two equally deserving streets by flipping a coin.

    That to me is leadership and I understand the the right wing wants people to believe that politicians or officials could never, ever aspire to that.

    Do you remember Chris Lehman? He was running against Sonoma’s Mike McGuire for State Senator. I liked Chris and wished he hadn’t dropped out of the race. What I remember most about his short stint running against now Senator McGuire is when he spoke to the HCDCC trying to get support. On the most critical issue of our regional water supply he made it plain that there are limits to what we will be able to keep going forward. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t fight for our interests, but he was clear with us that there is legitimate reasons to look at sending water south.

    It was like a two sentence comment, so this is not meant to be a discussion about water, but I do want to point out that good leaders lead with the whole in mind no matter what. Corrupt leaders will be looking to bring home the bacon for their particular district and then get rewarded by those who have benefited. I hope we can all agree on that.

    We are talking about 2,000 people not 200. The only way that size becomes an issue is if we assume politicians are inherently corrupt or myopic. I don’t, and because of that the size of about 2,000 registered voters to me would be a gold-standard of representative democracy.

    Cheers.

    Like

  13. Cousin Eddiie says:

    Although you didn’t address my point about eureka being too small, I found this interesting:
    “The way this plays out is an at-large system favors those who are paying attention…”

    I got news for you LMOB, every system favors those who are paying attention. Not just voting, pretty much life in general. I’m not sure how I feel about the people who aren’t paying attention being in charge. Seems like a bad idea.

    The reason nobodies interested is because there’s no “city” issues in their life. You want to get them involved and show them how their vote matters by making a personal issue for them.

    The city is relatively tiny and the most likely issue to personally affect someone is a change in their neighborhood. You expect them not to be “provincial”, to discard their newfound power, and place the needs of the entire city over their beloved neighborhood? Been to any planning commission meetings?

    Eureka’s too small.

    I can’t wait for you to go door-to-door though and explain to people how stupid they are for not voting.

    Like

  14. Just Watchin says:

    I’ve never understood the logic that when the democrat party can’t generate enough interest to get someone to run for office,(or when someone says they will then chickens out), that there must be something wrong with the system.

    Like

  15. LMOB says:

    My other Cousin Eddiie with two ii s
    Although you didn’t address my point about eureka being too small
    Start with this
    “Now to the specious argument” and go down. That’s me addressing the too small town argument.
    In short Cousin I don’t buy that small ain’t better. “We are talking about 2,000 people not 200. The only way that size becomes an issue is if we assume politicians are inherently corrupt or myopic. I don’t, and because of that the size of about 2,000 registered voters to me would be a gold-standard of representative democracy.

    Like

    • Cousin Eddie says:

      “Let’s take a step back: I think it’s a dumb idea because eureka is too small in population, size, and similar in demographics.”

      I feel like you aren’t addressing this. Much of Eureka is remarkably similar. What different points of view do you feel are not represented?

      Like

      • LMOB says:

        “What different points of view do you feel are not represented?”

        Linda’s point of view for one. Losing her will be a sad day for the City Council. In Linda those of us that think like her had a perfect candidate, someone who could spend a great deal of time going door to door. She worked all her life and is now retired and had the time and energy to represent working people. She also had a lifetime of experience in politics so knew how to win elections despite long odds against those whose number one priority is how to maximize profits for rentals and local businesses.

        And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying maximizing profits isn’t a good thing, I’m saying they are one of many priorities.

        What about the view of people that don’t think the free market is the best way to manage long term care facilities? What about those who feel that human dignity should take a higher priority when contemplating how to manage houselessness?

        These types of issues can be addressed by 30 second adds by one side that would say. “I believe in public safety and compassion toward our seniors”, but a person that could go to 1000 or 2000 doors personally, while holding down a job will be able to talk about the niceties of these positions and to help her neighbors understand that they are not the mean-spirited person their opponent will be making them and their campaign out to be.

        But again Cousin, this should be a conservative issue. I am not sure why all of a sudden all conservatives are rallying around the arcane principle of at large elections for all cities under ___. I’m not saying some, I’m saying ALL. I can point to at least a couple of Democrats or bluer/greener that would argue for At-Large elections generally and specifically in the case of Eureka.

        But not one conservative. The reason is they know that getting closer to the public helps today’s progressive/liberal and hurts the hold on power they have. They’ve worked hard for this hold since they were the ones who owned the lumber yards and fishing boats and they’d like to keep holding on to it thank you very much. The hybrid at-large system is only one aspect that helps them maintain control. Have you looked at the gerrymandered map of Eureka? See how each and every Ward passes through the nicer/more expensive homes outside of possibly the 1st? What about the lack of primaries? What about the 4 of the 6 elections being held on off years when there are many fewer people that vote? This includes what I’m discovering is a fairly influential Mayoral position.

        This is a way point for me on the map of politics. We never can know eachother’s hearts, but I do listen to the other side and I do take their (your) words and principles seriously. Measure P was a chance for some to prove that they do believe in people.

        Turns out conservatives don’t want a partner in leadership, they want a subject. That’s the truth, that is what Eureka conservatives are proving to me. And credit where it’s due, THC is right, the truth is making me mad.

        Like

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