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District voting depends on one's perspective

By Lex Alvord
Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - The issue of District voting is being clouded by the personalities involved. I understand that some view this as an attempt of the current commissioners to maintain power. Before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, let's stop and think about the ramifications.

Assume there are no personalities involved and we consider our future.

If the vote is No on district voting:

Those in the most populated districts can and will assert their voting power over the rest of the county. Those in the less populated districts will lose representation.

So, if I lived in the most populated districts I would be campaigning hard for everyone to vote No. Conversely, If I lived in the less populated districts I would be campaigning for everyone to vote Yes.

Greg Stafford made an excellent observation. Given the stated goals of the coalition, I can see them lamenting their "vote Yes" position in the future too. Growth breeds growth. Take a look at how those in the high population districts live. Is this the lifestyle the county as a whole wants? It must be what the people in these districts want or they wouldn't be moving there. What is acceptable and desirable is relative. How people vote is relative to how they live and their belief systems. If it's ok for them to live shoulder to shoulder, why wouldn't it be ok for everyone?

If the vote is Yes:

People in each district would vote for the person who would represent them and their interests and no one else.

As an example of what can happen with district voting, take a look at the vote for a county water supply. Those in the North West portion of the county, not wanting the excessive growth that would accompany easy access to water, voted No. Had that vote been open to all chatham voters the outcome, based on the results of the vote in other districts, would have been yes.

So, all political rhetoric aside, it really boils down to who you want to represent you and how do you want that person picked.

The original spirit of the law was to have representation from each district on the board of county commissioners. Representation was assumed in the past because of the district residential requirements. Obviously politicians have found ways to circumvent the spirit of those residential requirements. Hillary did it in New York, Bunky did it here. Granted people can represent a constituency without living in that constituency, but wouldn't you feel better if they practiced what they preached?

So, lets eliminate the loopholes and strengthen the residential requirements too.

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