NOTE - GSBA has not taken a stance on Charter Amendment 19. The opinions below are solely those of their author(s).
Authors: Choices Not Districts campaign
Politicians get to serve at large regardless of whether they are elected at large or by district. It is only We the People who have our jurisdiction restricted by districting.
In comparing the city and county councils: the King County Council is also comprised of nine members, and all nine have jurisdiction over you as a resident of this county; yet you are prohibited from participating in eight of their nine elections because the King County Council is elected by districts. BUT CURRENTLY, NO ONE CAN RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL WHO IS BEYOND YOUR REACH AS A VOTER. Let’s keep it that way!
Districting also causes elections in which incumbents run for reelection unopposed: e.g. in 2009, 4 of the 5 districts electing someone to the King County Council had no challenger: only the incumbent's name on the ballot.
So why do the districting advocates keep trying to put this over on us? Because their argument is that geography trumps political ideology and freedom of choice – that you are better off to have to vote for someone you may not like who lives in your part of town than to have the freedom of choice to vote for the candidates of your choice regardless of where they live in town.
City council members are under oath to represent the entire city and therefore should be accountable to all of us. Council members should work for the common good and not pit the interests of one geographic area against another. We don’t need councilors with tunnel vision. They need to address issues that are citywide, such as public safety and utilities. Retaining only two at-large councilors will not ensure that citywide needs are met; it takes five for a majority.
For neighborhood politics get involved with your neighborhood councils. This is why we have neighborhood councils.
And even with good intentions, districting makes gerrymandering possible and unavoidable. Gerrymandering cannot exist without districts and vice versa.
Districts will also require decennial redistricting, with taxpayers incurring the costs.
Redistricting will bump many people into different districts.
If Charter Amendment 19 passes, in the future most city council candidates will be off limits to you: beyond your reach as a voter. In 1975, 1995 and 2003 Seattleites rejected districts. Let’s do it again. Protect your choices: Vote NO on Charter Amendment 19.