Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We don't need fewer Muskegon County commissioners

Letters: We don't need fewer Muskegon County commissioners MLive.com
Redistricting, reapportionment, gerrymandering.
Whatever you call it, in Muskegon County, it really means that the Muskegon Democratic Party controls which county commission district you will live in for the next 10 years.

The commission consists of Democratic Treasurer Tony Moulatsiotis (chairman), County Clerk Nancy Waters, Prosecutor Tony Tague and Democratic Party boss Steve Keglovitz.


The lone Republican, GOP chair Christina Achterhoff makes it 4 to 1 Democrats over Republicans on the board.
The voters gave the Democrats the votes and the power to redraw district lines in any manner they choose.


But this commission isn’t only about gerrymandering your district for purely partisan purposes.


They will also consider reducing the number of commissioners from the current 11 down to 9 or even 7.
You might ask the Democrats why 7 or 9 is a better number than 11.
So far they haven’t offered a reason.


Although there is talk that the reduced number of commissioners would quietly split the current group’s total pay by the new, smaller number, thereby giving themselves a stealth pay increase.


I think that the reduction is a terrible idea for additional reasons.
The most obvious reason is it would effectively disenfranchise every voter in the county.
With fewer representatives, your vote and voice is worth less.
And their power increases.
County regions will lose a voice concerning issues specific to their areas.
Some commissioners currently have as many as six municipalities within their districts.

Fewer commissioners will mean an increase in the different cities and townships they must represent.
It will make connecting with their residents more difficult.
And it will surely make it harder for those residents to communicate and connect with their commissioner.


Fewer commissioners will require increased workloads for the remaining commissioners.
The increased workload of this part-time job would make it less attractive to new candidates. Or the work would simply not get done.
It likely could eliminate full-time workers from the candidate pool with only the lazy, independently wealthy or retired able to find the time to adequately do what would become a far more challenging job.Do we really want to put in place a policy that restricts the pool of possible candidates and effectively eliminates the citizen legislator?
Finally, as a friend in the restaurant business told me, “If I reduce the number of servers in my restaurant, my customers will have worse service.”
Well, duh!
We the people of Muskegon will suffer the same reduction in service if we allow the Democrat controlled board to shrink our representation.


Call your county commissioner and the redistricting board members and tell them we need greater representation, not less.


Before it’s too late!

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