The following is an article I sent to my local newspaper, The Monroe Times, to their “Letters to the Editor” column which was published in their August 30, 2016 issue on page A4 titled “Letter to the Editor: Save Our Democracy From At-Large Council” and I quote:
|8/29/2016 10:44:00 PM
“Letter to the editor: Save our democracy from at-large council”
Editor’s note: The council-at-large proposal before the city would increase the number of alders from nine to 11. Each alderperson would be elected at large, meaning they could live in any area of the city. Some alders have said they favor moving to an at-large system because they are frequently contacted by friends and relatives who reside in different wards. Also, demographics are fairly consistent throughout the city, unlike larger communities, making wards unnecessary in Monroe, proponents say.
From LaVern F. Isely
To the editor:
I’ve talked to quite a few voters in Monroe and told them about what the Monroe City Council is up to – promoting Council At-Large, a scheme I feel that will take away our democracy by changing the ordinance, of representing our certain localities. They don’t seem to understand what it means and I say call your alderperson. I did but he couldn’t explain to me why they wanted to change something that worked successfully for so many years.
Each one of the nine wards has to have an alderperson representing them. Each one representing the city equally proportioned to handle all various problems coming up in that ward. It’s not run like the Monroe public school district where the whole system is set up to educate all grades K-12 because I was told that’s why the council wants to have all the alderpersons concentrated in one or two wards of the city. I was told in 2011, that if all the alderpersons were in just a few wards, it would be easier for them to run the City. At that time, it was tabled because there such resistance against it.
Now, we’re going to have to have a final meeting which will be a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m. on the west side at Fire Station No. 1 close to the ethanol plant due to City Hall being closed due to remodeling. I hope we are given ample time to discuss why we feel losing our democracy, when all the alderpersons can live in either one or two wards. I hope everyone, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, come to this meeting because it is going to affect us all and not properly discussed.
Since our city should not be run like a club, representing a few people, it should be run as a democracy with all nine wards represented equally with an alderperson from each one. So, come to this very important public hearing meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6 because it will be your last chance to protect your freedom of speech.
I was told by one person that it sounds like gerrymandering like what the state is trying to do to get certain parties in office. I feel it’s a power grab by a few people on the council. Us voters and taxpayers shouldn’t let them get away with it.”
(Now taking the Council’s theory to be accurate which I don’t because I think it could be challenged in court. For example, what if the state government decided–since Wisconsin and Illinois are close together, why not give Illinois four U.S. Senators then Wisconsin would not have to go to the cost of electing our senators. Their excuse would be, look how much money we could save. In my experience, more than 90% of the people I talk to favor the fact that each ward should have at least one Alderperson. None of them have told me we need 11 Alderpersons which is part of their proposal which is a waste of money as well.
LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran
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