I’ve been asked my opinion on at-large voting. Personally it only makes sense if the jurisdiction is very small. Can you imagine if a councilman only represented a couple hundred people and was voted in by a voting populace of less than 50? But as population grows I really think at-large voting is a way for elected representatives to hide. You get excuses like, “that’s not my area” or “well I agree with you but the other members don’t see the benefit.” I think you get the point. As an active Republican, I like to have 1 representative to go to with questions, ideas, and thoughts.
Now GALEO and the New Town Florist Club are wanting to end at-large voting. I agree with them that it is beyond time for at-large to end in Gainesville but I have no real clue why they want it ended. It appears that the Hall County Democrat Party has also taken up the cause. This time I’m really confused. The Gainesville City Council is predominately Democrat whether they say it or not. I just don’t understand what these groups are trying to accomplish with the exception of GALEO. For some reason they think if districts were not at-large a Hispanic would get elected to the council. There is no evidence other than population to support that thought.
There first problem, how many of the City’s Hispanic population is legal? Second problem, of the legal population, how many are registered to vote? Third problem for the Democrats, how many registered voters are democrat leaning. Last and biggest problem is, depending on where the district lines are drawn will depend on what political philosophy lives there and who they will elect.
My biggest problem with this charge to eliminate at-large voting is how it is being handled. No one asked the Republican Party or even any Conservative groups how they think on the subject. As a Conservative it really looks like an attempt to segregate the City. Gonzalez (Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of GALEO) told The Times that the city is close to having a Latino majority district. But it could be another two or four years before this is a reality. While others thoughts seemed more extreme. “At-large voting … reminds me of South African apartheid,” said Rose Johnson, executive director of the Newtown Florist Club, referencing the racial segregation that Nelson Mandela helped bring to an end in the 1990s. Explain to me how pushing to segregate the city’s zones helps eliminate racial tension.
So here is how I’m going to end my most conflicted piece of writing I’ve every put into words. I’m calling out Jerry Gonzalez, Arturo Corso, Rose Johnson, and Sheila Nicholas. I’ll help you fight to end at-large voting but only if we agree there will be no effort to segregate the city into black, brown and white zones. I do support keeping communities of interest together but I’ll fight a gerrymandered district to try and guarantee an election is won by a color over a person of quality.
Feel free to contact me at Conservative@hallcountytruth.com if you don’t have my phone number. I reserve the right to add more to this post as I think on it further!