A Poor Argument for Charter Change
I found the July 5 letter submitted by Susan Flicop on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Newton deeply troubling. She listed the reasons for LWVN’s support of the proposed changes to the City Charter, which would, among other things, reduce the number of city councilors and eliminate ward representation.
Ms. Flicop states, “Just because a councilor lives in the same ward doesn’t mean that they (sic) represent the same views as their neighbors.” This is an absurd statement. It is basic to our system of democracy at both federal and state levels to have geographical representation. The assumption is that elected officials represent the geographical interests of their constituents. If not, they can be voted out. It should be obvious that a councilor who lives in Newtonville and elected by people living in Newtonville will be more motivated to be concerned about the issues of Newtonville than a councilor residing in Waban.
She continues, “what happens in one part of Newton affects everyone...” What is the basis for such a statement?
Further, in communities that changed to at-large councils, two effects have been noted. First, elected city councilors reside in the more affluent sections of the city; and second, with respect to Lowell in particular with its 40 percent minority population, there is no minority representation in its city council or school committee.
Finally, she states, “minorities...are spread throughout Newton, and this new voting structure would give them more power to elect a person who represents their views.” Her assumption that “minorities” in Newton all have the same views is offensive.
If this letter represents the views of the League of Women Voters, it makes me ashamed to be a woman voter.
Newton Tab, July 2017
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