Thursday, September 27, 2007

Doomsday Clock for Ward Representation

The games continue. Today the House passed the ward representation legislation, but mysteriously, so late in the day that the Senate had already adjourned.

I got this information today from Candace Lopes at Sen. Buoniconti's office. Sen. Buoniconti is committed enough to ward representation that he called Senate leadership about meeting in Session on Monday, where, I'm told, it will pass easily.

So now the question is: Where will Gov. Patrick be between the time the Senate acts on Monday, and Tuesday end of day by which the bill MUST become law to be on our November 6 ballot.

I haven't yet used this blog to ask people to take political action, but now I must. Massachusetts readers: please call Gov. Patrick's office tomorrow and Monday and urge him to make himself available to sign this bill, H4071. (Don't know if the number changes after the Senate passes it; probably, but this should do.) Let him know it's about allowing ward representation to be voted on by Springfield citizens. The Governor's office number is 617-725-4005. I don't know any name there except for Ann Walker, his Legislative Director. You could ask for her or anybody else who can get in touch with the Governor.

Whenever something as apparently inexplicable as the Legislature's delay in acting on this Home Rule petition takes place, especially when it is so contrary to the will of the people, there's a useful question to be asked: who benefits?

We know incumbent city councilors are less secure in their seats when there are five-- not nine-- at-large seats for them to hold.

But today, something else occurred to me. Under the current at-large system, state representatives are the only political force in any given ward-- there is no other governmental structure in which leadership can emerge. With ward representation in place, a ward councilor would be building his or her own political contacts and power base, and could eventually challenge a state representative for the district. That makes ward rep a threat.

Much to think about.
Call the Governor!

The new Doomsday Clock for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists designed by Pentagram.

1 comment:

Tommy said...

Very good point, Michaelann, politicians at all levels usually have little to gain when the people are empowered.