Letter from Michael O’Halloran

City Desk:
The City Desk conclusion that an open seat system wouldn’t have changed the election results misses the point. A good candidate will not get as many votes against a more popular candidate in one specific seat. But, that same candidate might get more votes in an open system; enough to garner a seat if more are available. This election, with four seats open, could have had 4 candidates running for one seat, thus meaning 3 would lose, but in an open system all 4 might have won a seat.

In this particular election the 4 winning candidates for each seat likely would have won in either system. However, the current system reduces the opportunity for the voter, with 4 votes, to select the top 4 candidates in their mind. An open system would encourage a wider selection of candidates. It wasn’t surprising that there were only 7 candidates for the 4 seats; 2 facing no opposition.

 

Budget Reserves:
The Mayor, Council & City staff deserve congratulations and thanks for the $12.3M now transferred into Reserve accounts, held for future swings, surprises & challenges down the line. These were part of the deliberations in the Council Goals for 2011-2013.

This was not just a result of a resurging economy, which is by all accounts mild. Other Cities are still extended. The Mayor and Council communicated strong support for businesses and development, a top 5 Goal, in context with community interests. The Stadium (another Goal) may also have already made some impact. They have also made difficult decisions in managing and deferring costs.

The Staff has worked hard to execute on all of these, working with businesses in the context of the General Plan and community impact, negotiating contracts and pursuing grants.

It’s great to hear the City is going to employee groups considering reducing or eliminating furloughs. That could be a Win-Win.