Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Quick 5W for Fair Vote Lowell: Organization Meeting

What: Fair Vote Lowell Organization Meeting
Who: ANYONE interested, regardless of past or current involvement level with this initiative
When: Friday, 31 JUL, at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Saint Ann's Church, 8 Kirk Street
Why: To discuss strategies for gathering enough valid signatures to get the petition on the ballot

Best Point of Contact on this, or any other upcoming related events, would be Dr. Victoria Fahlberg --


Renee said...

I'm going to reread your other posts on this subject. I really no on board changing the way we vote, but we do need to figure out objectively when to have a primary.

I know you speak of wanting to see a more diverse group running for office, but I have no idea at this point what percentage of possible immigrants who could be citizens are not or seem disinterested. Not only do we have a low voter concern, but Lowell like other cities with its make has few U.S. citizens.

A few years back I was conversing with a close coworker asking her why she had not taken an interest in being a U.S. citizenw hen all these years she and her family had their green cards. The subject came about, since we worked in a law office and I mention one didn't have to be a U.S. citizen to have a private legal practice.

My father-in-law was very involved in the local 'International Institute', a service for recent immigrants, being that he is a naturalized citizen himself. He is no longer is active with the organization, he just helps out with the local Saint Vincent de Paul now due to health.

The New Englander said...


Thanks for adding those points to the discussion. You're right to say that citizenship rates are going to affect voter turnout -- just like the % of ESL students is going to affect MCAS scores -- so it makes apples-to-apples comparisons between Lowell and other cities difficult sometimes.

With the Fair Vote initiative, what you need to keep in mind is that it just means you could rank your votes 1 through 9, rather than just have nine total votes to give. That COULD affect the outcome, because a system that allows ranking works to the advantage of smaller interest groups. Bear in mind, that does not have to mean 'racial' or 'ethnic.' Residents of a certain neighborhood, people of a similar interest, people of a similar age, or political affiliation, etc. could coalesce to elect a candidate more easily under this system.

Your point about diversity is a good one. I was actually skeptical right before I first heard Dr. Fahlberg speak, because I thought it was going to be a presentation that only focused on the racial composition of the elected leadership (I was chomping at the bit to make that very same point...the old canards about how whites won't vote for people of color have all been disproven, and we need more diverse candidates to RUN before they can be elected).

But I came away convinced that the idea of choice voting really will stoke more interest in local elections because of the effect it will have. It's not just about more immigrants, or more people of color, or women, or Republicans, or any of the above. It's about enacting a system that gives the voter a higher chance of seeing his or her favorite candidates elected (Dr. Fahlberg had a lot of stats to back that one up).

I would even be willing to admit that this system isn't going to simply guarantee 'better' government or 'better' elected leaders, but it does improve the efficacy of the individual voter, so I did sign the petition, and will vote for it in November..


Renee said...

Off subject, but reading up on the 'Bowling Alone' site, couldn't agree more.

One of the struggles my husband and I have is the commute factor. Both my parents and his parents worked in Lowell, so their commute was 10 minutes.

My husband's is well over an hour. That has made it hard for both of us to work at the same time or do anything, because it's pass 7pm.

While it is impossible to guarantee everyone a job closer to home, I cringe seeing Lowell only as a bedroom community.

The New Englander said...


Great point about commutes. I'm going to be spending a good part of August looking for full-time work after I leave active duty (stuck working today actually but freedom commences tomorrow at 0800).

The commute is a MAJOR factor. After doing all this back-and-forth this year, I want to try to avoid a long commute, esp. one that involves driving. If I could somehow find a job within walking distance of where I live, I'd have to think that's worth thousands annually...not just in actual $$ saved, but also for well-being -- more involvement in the community, and more opportunity to take care of the little things and to stay in shape..

..I think you've just given me some fodder for a future entry or two..