Stateside With Rosalea Barker
Happy! Happy! Happy!
::Connecticut Wankee in the Court of King George::
Is Joe Lieberman really an ID (Independent Democrat) as he has asked the Senate to refer to him? Or is he just another
OPJ--Opportunistic Power Junkie--who'd rather see the United States electoral system mocked around the world for the
laughable results it produces than admit that he no longer represents the views of his party?
Consider this: two out of every three registered Democrats who voted in Connecticut voted for Democrat Ned Lamont. More
than two out of every three registered Republicans who voted cast their ballots for Joe Lieberman, thereby returning him
to the Senate.
Frankly, that result pleases me. It certainly takes the wind out of the sails of the arguments you hear in the US about
instant runoff voting and forms of proportional representation allowing too much power to accrue to people nobody wanted
in the first place. (Well, hey--there's some who say that's what ANY political system produces!)
A cautionary note: Besides the primary system meaning that US voters need to identify with a particular party at the
time they register to vote if they want a voice in party primaries, the way Congress works is that business continues
even after an election is held. Hold on to your hats, folks, while the 109th Congress shakes its still-Republican fist
at the world.
::What profiteth a woman if there are 49ers in the Senate but none in da house?::
If there's one thing the Bay Area is famous for besides liberal politics, it's bottom-of-the-league sports teams.
Nonetheless, win or lose, a sports team gives your city national name recognition, so the story topping the news
bulletins isn't the elections, but Wednesday's sudden, seemingly unexplained announcement by the San Francisco 49ers
football team that they are going to relocate to a brand new stadium in Santa Clara, down in the South Bay.
No big deal in one sense--it's not like the famed Dallas Cowboys are based in Dallas. The 49ers could still keep San
Francisco in their name. But the remodelled 49ers stadium in San Francisco was going to be where the opening and closing
ceremonies for the 2016 Olympics would occur, and the move announcement came at exactly the time SF's Olympic Bid
Committee was meeting with the US Olympic Committee to promote itself as host city ahead of L.A. and Chicago, the other
Meanwhile, over here in the East Bay, the Oakland A's baseball team are talking about moving to a brand new
state-of-the-art stadium that Cisco wants to build down in Fremont. Fact is, the San Francisco Olympic bid was always
about using venues all around the Bay Area, so no amount of bleating about how the jobs and housing that would accrue to
the 49ers' San Francisco stadium redevelopment will really cut much ice. Still, it's effectively scotched our Olympic
Another result I'm happy with! Olympics--who needs 'em?
::IRV wins again::
I must confess that, after a great start, I had very little involvement with the effort to promote Measure O, the
instant runoff voting measure on Oakland's ballot, but the stalwarts who persevered with the campaign brought it in at
67.41 percent of voters in favour.
One of the advisors on the campaign will be known to some of you Down Under. Lynne Serpe was the national coordinator
for the New Zealand campaign to get the single transferable vote system approved for use in local elections. She is
currently the Deputy Director of the New America Foundation's political reform program.
Two other cities and a rural county in the US also voted in favour of IRV on November 7. Lynne is quoted in a press
release from the New America Foundation as saying:
"What was interesting about the four victories for IRV was that they happened in four very different locations. Oakland
is a very diverse and working-class city; Minneapolis is a Midwestern values city; Pierce County is mostly a rural
county with large numbers of independent voters; and Davis is a smaller, university town. Yet in every place Instant
Runoff Voting provided a unique solution to problems with representative government and democracy."