Sunday, February 26, 2006

Proposed Amendments by Burt Talcott

Dear CRC Colleagues: When recognized, I would like to propose the following amendments for consideration of the CRC. Thanks, BLT

Proposed Charter Amendments by Burt L. Talcott: February 23, 2006

Section 4.40 -- District Boundaries is amended to read: “The boundaries of each District shall be drawn to produce districts which are as nearly equal in population, contiguous and compact as practicable.”

Section 4.60 -- Districting Plan is amended to add the following language: “except that any citizen of Pierce County may file suit in Superior Court, within fifteen days of the adoption of the plan, to contest the plan or any portion thereof. If successful, the contestant shall be reimbursed by the County for all fees and costs incurred in such contest.”

Section 4.90 Add the following: “No person shall be allowed to be a candidate for an elective office in Pierce County while holding another elective office in Pierce County.” (To prevent serial cherry picking. The “resign to run” concept – much needed in Pierce County.)

Section 4.100 -- Limitation on Campaign Contributions (New) “No candidate for any public office in Pierce County may accept any contribution for any purpose from any person who cannot vote for the candidate. All contributions to a candidate, whether in cash, promised or “in kind,” shall be immediately, at least no later than 24 hours, reported by including the full name, voting address, employer’s name, address and occupation of the contributor; the full amount of the contribution and the sum of all prior contributions during the present election cycle, to the candidate’s opponents, two political Parties and the legal newspaper within the electoral district of the candidate. No contribution of any kind to any candidate may be made or promised within 100 hours of the time of the first counting of ballots in the election. Any violation of this section shall be subject to a fine of ten times the amount of the illegal contribution or one year in jail, or both, for each violation.”

(Any perceived infringement upon a citizen’s exercise of free expression or “speech” is deemed necessary to protect the integrity of elections, a more essential function of government than unlimited “free speech.” There is no limit on the amount or kind of “speech.” Why should an “outsider” who will not be affected by the election be permitted to affect an election? Why should anyone be entitled to influence two or more elections in different districts? Persons are prohibited from voting for candidates in different districts – which may be wrongly perceived by some as an infringement on one’s “right of full expression.” Contributions are much like votes – designed to affect an election. We shouldn’t allow a person to contribute to candidates in two different districts any more than one should be allowed to vote for candidates in two different districts. Neither voters nor contributors should be allowed to corrupt the electoral process.”)

Section 8.20 -- Election and Period of Office Delete “every ten (10) years” and replace with “every six (6) years.” (Time is “telescoping.” The Internet, cell phones, blackberrys, Ipods, air travel, personnel practices, management systems, architecture change in a few months that once required decades. The county can’t wait a decade for another Charter Review Commission to review the Charter when changes occur in months. The extra cost would be well spent in developing urgently needed changes sooner. Public officials seldom make effective or beneficial changes in the public interest without the prodding of a grassroots citizens Commission. Obsolescence and stagnation are the habits of government – and needs more frequent review and change.)

Section 6.10 Presentation and Adoption of the Budget (and all others section and sub-sections where the words “fiscal year” is stated) Amend the Charter to replace the words “fiscal year” with “biennium.” This amendment would require such changes in Sections 6.20, 6.25, 6.30, 6.40, 6.50, 6.70, 6.75, and in some instances, “annual” would be changed to “bi-annual.” (This change would save valuable time of budget and department officials and permit taxpayers and officials to plan better.)

I propose that the CRC recommend that the Executive and Council appropriate up to $1 million for the purpose of employing a firm of expert consultants to study and recommend changes and improvements in the planning, organization, management, operation, personnel and communication (internal and external) systems of and the ethical conduct of County government. (The initial expense would be quickly recouped and rewarded with valuable long term improvements and cost reductions.)

2 Comments:

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Anita said...

I think that the amendment proposed to change the reporting requirements on all contributions is incredibly onerous!

" All contributions to a candidate, whether in cash, promised or “in kind,” shall be immediately, at least no later than 24 hours, reported by including the full name, voting address, employer’s name, address and occupation of the contributor; the full amount of the contribution and the sum of all prior contributions during the present election cycle, to the candidate’s opponents, two political Parties and the legal newspaper within the electoral district of the candidate."

What timeframe do the current rules for reporting require?

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger Lee said...

Does Burt really think that the county can override the constitution because he doesn't believe in free speech?

Is he just trying to waste time?
What's the point of this?

The truth is that allowing 3+ choices both for primaries and general elections will effectively end the power of money to chase voter's only choice.

These relentless silly proposals to regulate money instead of prioritizing moderanizing to ranked ballots is simply fiddling while the big-money folks steal everything.

Note that IRV will only have this benefit ir both elections are retained. A single-round election for partisan/major offices would likely give big money even more influence.

In America, you can't ignore the constitution unless your friends run the court.

 

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