The Hispanic Conservative Red Fox Aaron Rodriguez at JSOnline perfectly states what I tried ham-handedly earlier this week: Allowing voters to decide the size and shape of their county government is exactly what democracy looks like.
Satire aside, the most fascinatingly backward response thus far comes from Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic who had called the rough draft a “slap in the face to local control.” Huh?
Does she really think a referendum to put control back into the hands of local voters is a slap in the face of local control? Or perhaps she means something different by “local control,” like say, her tyrannical control of the County Board, for instance. No, I don’t think a referendum is an affront to local control any more than the pension scandal of 2002 was an oversight by an incompetent county government. A better example of a slap to local control was targeting a county supervisor to be cut out of his district - against the objections of district voters - precisely because he was a strong advocate for government reform.
To clarify the term, a referendum is “a method of referring a question or set of questions to the electorate directly rather than allowing them to be settled by the people’s representatives in the legislature.” This method of local control was invoked frequently by state governments during the US revolutionary period when representatives were unresponsive or unanswerable to the local citizenry. This is still particularly true in areas of low voter turnout where special interests are advanced and scandals have ensued.
Perhaps the Dimitrijevic’s problem is precisely about personalities. It’s about the same personalities that voted themselves a better healthcare benefits package despite already having salaries higher than those who run our state government. Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald is wise to consider Rep. Sanfelippo’s idea of letting the people decide what sort of government they want.
Where's a standing ovation emoticon when I need one?