I recently gave a speech saying that the entire political system is rigged in Alachua County. It is rigged to ensure a majority Democrat majority every time. In fact, in some cases it is rigged to elected a certain type of Democrat (liberal).
Every single lever the controlling Democrats could pull to ensure their maintenance of power has been pulled. It is quite an ingenious system that has been built over time, and if we have learned anything from Alachua County’s charter review process, those in power have absolutely no desire to allow anyone else to participate.
They will not share power, and it will only be shared if the citizens take the power back and reform the system through referendum.
There are several reforms that I would like to suggest be done by ballot, in no particular order:
1) Remove the artificially low $250 contribution limit to local campaigns. I have written on this before. This limit, which is the lowest in the state, does nothing but protect incumbents with higher name ID, forces candidates to spend more time raising money, and is promoting the use of 527s on a local level.
2) Require single member districts in the county. This is one the biggest changes that could be made. Depending on how the districts are drawn, one can make the case that two districts could be drawn that could be competitive for non-super-liberal democrats.
3) Force term limits in County Races. Open seats carry with them a higher chance for change.
4) Elect three of the five county commissioners in the year Governors are elected. Currently 3 of the 5 are elected during the election-year-cycle that Presidents are elected. This ensures the highest possible turnout of Democrats and students.
5) Return to a mayor-commissioner form of Government in the City. Having an elected Mayor has lead to a multitude of issues.
The recommendation to end all recommendations:
5) Voluntarily annex the Gainesville City limits all the way to Newberry. That area of the county is where the Republicans live. These citizens think of themselves as from Gainesville, they are affected by the City Commission’s decisions, they should have a say.
Redistricting in Gainesville
As a final note, all those interested in politics should pay close attention to the City of Gainesville. They are currently preparing to undergo a redrawing of their political districts and it is at that point winners and losers will be chosen.
Move the city elections?
Notice how I did not say “move the elections to November”? This will not give Republicans a better chance of being elected, in fact it may do harm. In my opinion, moving the elections to the fall will only change the type of Democrat elected. On the whole, it is not a bad thing, but Republicans must recognize what it is. Moving all the municipal elections, county wide, to a common date may be a better way to go.