Friday, October 31, 2008

ELECTION 2008: ENDORSEMENT: *YES* on Issues 7 & 8

Local Issue 7 -- Vote YES
Shall the Charter of the City of Cincinnati be amended to limit the use of photo-monitoring devices to detect certain traffic law violations by adopting new Article XIV?

Essentially, a yes vote means that a simple traffic camera will not be enough to give a ticket to a motorist that runs a red light.

I don't think these things are good policy. There are a lot of good arguments for them -- including safety issues that are 100% relevant and salient to the discussion, and I don't mean to discount them. However, they are simply illegal. There are no witnesses save a camera, and a picture of a car driving through doesn't tell us who was driving the car. I'm not a big fan of big brother, and I'm tired of the ongoing debate of placing video cameras every where we go.

At some point, we need to just say "enough with the ongoing monitoring."

Like sex, when you drive, you are taking certain risks. Understanding those risks are part and parcel of the process. Yes, traffic fatalities are awful things, but how does a camera help? If someone runs a red light, they run a red light. A camera is not going to change that simple behavior. People argue that it keeps honest people honest, but it's not the honest people I'm worried about.

They don't protect people, these cameras; they are merely punitive. And I just don't think that's right.

Local Issue 8 -- Vote YES

Shall the proposed amendment to the Charter of the City of Cincinnati to provide for a method of proportional representation for electing the members of Council whereby each voter ranks candidate choice in descending order from 1 through 9 on each ballot; to provide for the counting of ballots and the determination of results whereby the ballots that are not needed or cannot be used to elect a candidate are distributed to the next highest candidate choice on each ballot who remains eligible to be elected; to provide for the ballot language and direction to voters; to provide for the election of two candidates for mayor in a primary election who shall be eligible for the regular municipal election for mayor; to provide for the election of mayor in the general election; to provide for the choice of write-in candidates; to provide for the election of council and the mayor by ballot without designation of political party; to provide for the marking, sorting and counting of ballots and tabulating the results in a manner consistent with the charter and general election law for non-partisan ballots; to provide for the ongoing validity of Article IX should any provision of Article IX be amended or held unconstitutional or in violation of state law; to provide for the use of mechanical, electronic or other devices for vote counting; and provide other procedures to implement proportional representation by repealing existing Sections 5, 5a, 7, 8, 11 and 12 and enacting new Sections 5, 5a, 7, 8, 11, 12 and 13, be approved?
I'm actually divided on this one for two reasons:
1) I am 100% in favor of instant run-off election processes, which is what proportional representation is (essentially). I think it's fair and creates more balance in the system, while opening the system and allowing for more people to run for office.

2) This process is really, really, really complicated. I'm really concerned how upcoming elections will be run for city council because we can even trust people to properly press a button for one candidate for president (ignoring arguments about voting machine difficulties, here). Asking people to rank their preference... well... I've read some on the issue and I'm still not 100% on how the Cincinnati specific program works.

However, I think in the broad picture, this will be good for Cincinnati. I think the first time around we'll all be confused and there will be some bumps on the road, but I definitely definitely believe that we can step up to the challenge (I'm tired of dumbing stuff down for people instead of asking people to smarten up).

Besides, there are some dire issues of political access that need to be addressed in the city, and I think this is a step in the right direction.

1 comment:

Quimbob said...

7 - A simple traffic camera will NOT issue a ticket. A human police officer will.
Police do not prevent crime. Laws don't prevent crime. Our entire legal system is based on the criminal doing the deed before he is prosecuted.
Also, this is not a vote on whether to use the technology or not - it is a vote to amend the city charter from banning a piece of technology from ever being used.
People argued hard against the use of fingerprinting in the 19th century.
8 - I don't think it is difficult for the voter but the counting process is complicated. I guarantee that, if passed, there will be constant challenges to the results.
It will make it easier for fringe candidates with little financial support to get elected. Do you really want a COASTer on council, tho ? Why do you think they are endorsing it ?