Of course, ward rep opponents on the council took the opportunity to reiterate reasons against changing the current system. None of them mentioned one driving force behind their opposition: they might not be able to be re-elected under a mixed, ward and at-large system.
I did get a chance to see for myself what will be the two pillars of opposition to ward representation this fall.
Tom Rooke reiterated his belief that anybody can get elected to City Council if they just work hard enough, and that a seat on the council shouldn’t be “handed” to anyone. This message will certainly appeal to those white people who share his belief and fear what would happen if people of color start getting elected to City Council in numbers that reflect their percentage in the population.
Bus Williams, though, says that the idea of ward rep is 10 to 15 years too late—that passing ward rep now, when our population is becoming “browner and browner,” is a disservice to people of color, who, apparently, (and now we switch back to Rooke’s line) could now get elected to the City Council simply on the basis of their increasing numbers in the population if they tried hard enough.
What he forgot to say was that he has opposed ward representation for those entire 15 years!