I think it is time I sent something to the Fair Vote Ginger list. Not a lot worth talking about has been happening with FVC. They seem to be waiting for the next election. But lately I had somebody e-mail me and tell me he is changing his e-dress and please update it on my list.
It is touching that I have such a devoted following, in contrast to the people who keep sending me things like "Hey, moron, nobody is interested in your personal life". As usual, the latter is not even on this list.
I think I will soon have the capacity to create a discussion list again. I am preparing to open a new list serve in Switzerland. I wanted to do that a couple of months ago but I have had to keep putting it back due to other financial priorities. Next month, I am sure.
That is, unless some of you people would like a message board format. It does not seem that message boards ever do well with this topic. Maybe if the discussion was regrounded in a way I have in mind and will talk about below.
I have also been preoccupied with some other things. Especially, with the local election. I worked for David Blackmore in my home ward, ward 28. Like many here, I am really sick of Pam MacConnell and her "If you're not on my side I won't listen to you" attitude.
Pamster the Hamster is the poster rodent for all that is wrong with the plurality system. But she also illustrates what is wrong with the FVC approach. There is this obsession with political parties and proportionality between them. What is really important is multiple member constituencies.
So goddam much is not possible in ward 28 which should be, just because of Pammie's eccentricities. It is impossible to set up community gardens around here because she has some sort of thing about fences. Believe it; vegetable gardens around here do not work without fences. Too many varmints, of the bright eyed and bushy tailed variety as well as the masked and ringtailed kind, and of course the two legged kind.
One thing which especially bugs Blackmore is the attitude of the Toronto Community Housing Management. Pammie has the attitude that the TCHC management cannot be questioned, not even by its own residents. Not even about the poorly thought out Regent park redevelopment which disrupts people's lives for seven years.
I could go on quite a bit about all this, but when it is so hard to get rid of an incumbent, and the incumbent has so much power, it can have a very bad effect on communities. A system like we have in Toronto is designed for clientelism, and that is the system we have in Toronto. It is so pervasive that people mostly do not even see it as corruption.
By the way, this is why the NDP federally and provincially has such a hard time in this area. Even in parts of TO where the NDP have seats, they have nowhere near the support they logically would have. In fact the deepers are deeply hated by many low income people because of their clientelistic attitude. They think they own low income people, who are obligated to work for the NDP, and if they don't then they can get lost.
This is why Toronto needs a multimember ward system. Nothing is going to break this up until there is competition between political representatives. I also suspect that it would improve conditions dramatically in the down and out areas of ward 28.
There is not much chance of getting that from the local geniuses of Fair Vote Toronto. I was reminded of why I am no longer directly involved with FVC when I saw the "action group" head debating with Dave the Rabbit on TV Ontario last month. I just reviewed the video. Find it at http://tvo.org/video/207333/changing-voting-game
The interviewer, Steve Paikin, did a much better job of challenging Meslin than FVC ever does. He zeroed in on the obvious problem with Mez; he is obsessed with this one idea. It is "alternative Vote" or nothing.
The Fair Vote Toronto action group has called themselves "the foxes". But a fox this bad at catching rabbits would starve. Steve also pointed out FVC's basic problem; they set their own aims too low. They come across as; "yes, we will settle for anything, even what Meslin wants. We just want a public consultation about it."
That is fairly pathetic and you can predict who would lose a public debate. It is an old saying that you have to be for something, not against something. Meslin makes clear what he is for. FVC comes across as being for nothing in particular. Most importantly, having no particular problem with Meslin and his AV. They just want a more consultative process, whatever that means.
The Flaccid Fox even talks a little about a "Parliamentary Mayor" for Toronto, appointing the mayor from the council in the way that a premier or prime minister is chosen. But she will not even come out clear for it, but hedges, also talking about an Alternative Vote for the mayor's chair.
By the way, an AV would still have elected Rob Ford.
Paikin even suggests that there is more to be fixed in local government than just the voting systems. This is great; why is nobody talking at all about participatory budgeting, provincial status for major cities, or even deliberative democracy? But neither Meslin nor Hall have anything to say.
Well, I have a lot to say about all that. But I have other ideas of interest to me as well. In fact I find a kind of holy trinity of really important topic areas which come together into a really compelling program or vision or agenda for the future. They are; a deep democracy, a Basic Income, and a zero interest economy.
Once I have a web space safe within the Swiss alps, from the ying yangs who keep trying to take it down, I am going to start developing the site as an information and discussion space for these topics. Needless to say the Fair Vote ginger little rinky dink site will evolve to be more about direct democracy. This list might become the nucleus for some discussions about how to do that, especially locally in Toronto.
Yes, I have some big plans again. I am feeling somewhat better. I have decided to start taking on some more things now. One thing I never want to do is sit and rust out. I want to keep going until I drop dead. As most of you know, I have had lifelong debilitating medical conditions which were not diagnosed until into middle age.
They were not treated properly until even later. I had to finally leave Alberta for that. But they still flare up. They prevent me from doing any other kind of job. Reading, thinking, and writing about it seem to be what I can best so I will keep doing it. Internet is a wonderful medium for people like me. But now I am going to start really working at it.
By the way, today is my 60th birthday. Considering what I have had against me in life, I am surprised and pleased that I am doing so well. This would explain my self absorbed musings here.
But I will still organize meetings on topics related to the three topic areas I stated above. I still would like to convene a kind of smorgasbord of options for city government. This would happen in the spring and take some organizing because I have to convince some speakers on diverse topics to come and hold forth. Some parts of it I would deliver myself.
A problem would be people who are terrified of being seen to attack anything. Sorry folks, but shame is one of the most powerful persuaders. Meslin and crew should be shamed publicly for doing what they are doing. But way beyond him, political types who try to ram through or sneak through politicians solutions instead of facilitating and obeying deliberative democratic processes, should be put in the stocks. In no way should people who act that way be shown any respect or "debated" in any way.
But as far as being the big attacker against AV, there is a really good web site up now which does that job well. I wish I could find out who is behind it. Find it at http://www.no2av.ca
I will leave you with an important quote form it;AV is a politician's fix, not a people's fix
Many politicians will try to present AV as a legitimate reform, but informed voters should ask themselves "Who will AV benefit"? Because of AV's vote transfers, earning people's first-preference votes becomes less important than becoming the "lesser evil" option and winning with more second, third, and lower choice votes.
This often rewards centrist parties or candidates more than those on the left or right, and eventually, only two similar centrist parties will remain. For some, it's a cynical attempt to change the system for reasons of partisan advantage.
These are the sorts of terms with which AV should be opposed.
However, you might note that things are starting to move on from mere voting reform. As I have said, FVC is starting to outlive any usefulness it had. If anything, it is becoming an impediment to getting voting reform. This is because of the way it advocates; the way it frames the issue.
So, this is probably the last time I will send out a message to this list like this. The next time you hear from me it will be an offer you can't refuse, to join the new web site.
One other thing I should tell you people about. I am being sued for defamation over the content of my web site. I am happy as all hell about it. The jokers responsible for harassing me have run out of other options. They are too stupid and too narcissistic to back off when I have the goods on them.
Some people who have also had enough of them have sent me information now about them consulting together on some type of discussion board about how to get me fired from my election worker job. Most of what these jokers do to harass me ends up in my favor, or at least harming me little.
This information will be very useful in court. I will also have some discussions with the city elections office once I have my pay cheque from them. I had one person, obviously under pressure, call me up and get very abusive about my working for a candidate in a ward election.
Obviously, you can't work on election day for a candidate and as a voting official, but in provincial and federal elections you can work for a candidate during a campaign. Most people would be surprised to hear you can't do it with city elections.
However, you can work in another ward. But rather than move me to another ward, this dink just fired me. I had to call up the elections office and get myself unfired, and I had to go out to Etobicoke to work. Until then I thought I was going to be working in the lobby of my own building. Hi, neighbors.
I am getting pretty good at civil court, especially small claims.
But now, I need to start working on an outline for a forum on options for municipal government reform for Toronto. Anyone suggest any good speakers?
Merry Christmas, Happy New Years, all.
Send this out tomorrow. Zzzzzzzz
Nov 19, 2014.
Whoops! Forgot to send this. Should add something to it. Here is a new article from Manchester Guardian. It says something about the capacity for political renewal of countries with proportional systems. Yes, all the traditional parties have been captured by neo-liberals in Europe. But the people have been able to very rapidly build new parties, left and right, capable of taking power. It is almost impossible to do this under the westminster system we have.
Nov 21, 2014