San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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EDITOR:

The newly created Impact San Marcos and members of the reorganization of the Hill Country Chapter of the NAACP Presents major concerns relating election process of local city council in San Marcos.

It is a great concern to the citizens of San Marcos that under the current election standard, the voice of majority of San Marcos citizens is not currently a fair process. As it stands now, we have two council and the potential of two more members from the San Marcos Willow Creek area.

If two of the current candidate should win on November 8, 2011 that will leave only one minority on the council and the smallest minority voice would no longer be part of the due process thereby eliminating minority representation, and excluding majority of the citizens in representation by that council.

This does not provide culture diversity or a balance and equal voice for the majority of the citizens this council serves.

It is evident that local citizens and the leadership of our government must work to change the current election process and seek single member districting in an effort to create diversity and balance for all citizens of our community. Equal representation will create a balance system of justice essential to all citizens. We cannot have 4 elected citiens from one district or one local sub-division representing all the voice of the majority.

For example In the event that Councilman Chris Jones should not win his seat for re-election of pct. 4, the current makeup will totally eliminate a black voice representing thoughts and views from this process. The current process is not fair and is not balanced and must be challenged on the Constitutionality and legality of the process.

Once again we call on the citizens of San Marcos to challenge the unfairness of the current process to all our citizens. And seek single member district for a more balanced voice in government. We must promote empowerment of our people and protection of the voice of our citizens to have an equal, united voice in government.

ARTHUR TAYLOR
President, Impact San Marcos
Member, Hill Country NAACP organizing board

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16 thoughts on “Letter: Don’t eliminate minority voices from city council

  1. Your presumption seems to be that a “white” elected official cannot possibly serve the “black” community. I personally find that to be a faulty argument, and a divisive point of view to boot.

    If you want to see a black candidate elected to Council, then focus your efforts on locating and motivating black candidates, and then on locating and motivating voters from those areas of town that you feel aren’t being represented to vote for that candidate.

    Fighting against our election process is just tilting at windmills. When people choose not to participate in the system, the answer should be to find ways to motivate them, not to change the system to fit their mindset.

  2. It is unfortunate that Council is less diverse than it has been, but there is nothing unfair about the process — everyone is allowed to run and everyone is allowed to vote. The results may become disproportionate and unbalanced towards Willow Creek, but that does not mean the process is unfair. We need to leave the process as open as possible, so that the voters can choose among the most qualified candidates — not be limited by artificial divisions of the town.

  3. The surest way to elect unqualified council members is to implement single member districts. I’ve seen it all over the state. We have a hard enough time fielding a great team without the limits of districts. San Marcos is not so large that there are conspicuous opposing agendas or that any one council member can’t grasp the issues across the entire city. Please go out today and vote for Wayne Becak and be grateful that such a well-qualified individual has volunteered to serve.

  4. While I appreciate the concern of Mr. Taylor and others who’ve taken the time to voice their concerns about diversity and single member districts, I would like to reinforce the strength of my candidacy based not upon race (or any other single determining factor) but upon my past service and future contributions to the community of San Marcos.
    I am, and will always be, a proud member of both the San Marcos and African American communities. I recognize the value diverse perspectives bring to communities and to the groups that govern them; I am fully committed to continuing my presence as a strong minority voice on the San Marcos City Council.
    However, I ask my constituents to base their votes on the issues at hand rather than on race. My proven history of promoting sound finances, championing focused economic development and fighting to lower property taxes and utility rates is why I’m the best candidate for Place 4. Please go out today and vote for Chris Jones a proven and well-qualified individual who wants to continue to serve.

  5. SMsince95: What are the reasons single member districts produce unqualified candidates?

    Mr. Jones: Thank you for serving our city as a city council member with such dedication and devotion.

  6. While I disagree vehemently with Mr Jones’ position on the smoking ban (and believe this was an issue that helped cost him his seat on Council) I do thank him for his years of service to our community.

  7. It is hard enough to find qualified candidates willing to serve without the restrictions of having to live in the district you represent. When you reduce the pool of available candidates your odds of finding a good quality candidate, no matter what your political leanings, goes down. This is less true where individual districts have many thousands of people. I know others feel differently but that has been my observation dealing with councils around the state.

  8. I think one of the reasons he lost was his vote on The Retreat at San Marcos. Putting student apartments so near single-family neighborhoods is a mistake. People in Oak Heights vote and they will remember when it comes time to vote against Jude Prather, Kim Porterfield, and Shane Scott too.

  9. What would we get in San Marcos if we went to single member districts? A mirror of the San Marcos school board. We would have councilpersons being elected with just a handful of votes. Those councilmembers would only be interested in the well being of a few people. No thanks.

  10. The only advantage I could see in single member districts would only apply to cities the size of San Marcos, slightly lower costs to campaign. Fewer mailers, etc. Larger cities, where the campaign takes place in radio and tv don’t reap that reward.

  11. There are voting systems other than at-large and single-member districts. Remembering back to the ISD restructuring a couple of decades ago as memory fades, I believe those other voting systems are called proportional representation and have several variants. Since I do not live within the city and have just a modest dog in this hunt, I do not really care what San Marcos does. We were too late in introducing alternate voting systems into the ISD debate back then. Yet I believe the ISD and San Marcos would have been better served now had it adopted such an alternative system versus what it has now.

  12. I believe the smaller the scale of representation to those being represented the more transparent and democratic the process. Anything that gets us closer to that ideal is worthwhile in my book. And per the concern that they would only be interested in the well being of a few people, would that be much different than it is now, with what 3-5% of the potential electorate even bothering to get up and cast a vote? Maybe if our districts were each only a few neighborhoods in size we could get more participation. Is it so bad that I was able to meet my school board member face to face walking in our neighborhood? Isn’t that the grassroots level where democracy is supposed to work best? At any rate, we pretty much already have “councilpersons being elected with just a handful of votes.” I hardly see how we can get less participation with single-member districts than we have now… a state of affairs to which we should ALL be ashamed of by the way…my God people, read your history. Don’t you realize how lucky we are to even have a voice? And we choose to take it for granted? Very sad. Pull your head out and learn where we came from and the obligations it takes to be a citizen in a free community

  13. I am against single member districts. Here is a reason why. I ran for Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Of the many questions I received from the voters was: Why did you chose to run for Mayor instead of City Council? Because of Single Member Districts. I resided at the time in SA District 5 and 10 because according to City Charter I had to have continuous residence of 6 months in that particular district, the Mayor Council member District 11 had to just have 1 year continuous residence in San Antonio and can be from any district. The NAACP and such organizations need to focus on reforming the qualification requirements to run for office in San Marcos they are among the most strict. Stricter than Austin and San Antonio. You have to have ultiliy bills in your name (so if you live with room mates, or parents sorry sir/mam you are not eligible.) I read San Marcos candidacy requirements in their charter. I am White/Hispanic and Disabled so I am somewhat a minority for now. I also like the fact with at at large system I all of the councilmembers did not meet the expecatations of me the voter, the at large system lets me vote then all out by voting for someone else and getting my neighborhoods to do the same, or if I like this one candidate that lives on the other side of town and their viewpoints I can vote for them without having to live on their same side of town. At Large represention is the best representation availble. However, I would only comprimise to a mixed system of both at large and single member council districts provided the single member districts would be as follows North South East and West San Marcos and no more. A gerrymandered by the City single member districts or not the way to go.

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