You're listening to Portland from the Left. This is a second episode in a two part series about the Portland city charter and the charter review process with our friend Thursday, this episode probably won't make that much sense without listening to the previous one. So I suggest if you haven't heard it to go back and listen to that, first. It introduces what the charter is and how it functions. And this will be a second half talking about kind of where it could go.
So thinking, you know, there are people that don't have Portlanders' best interest in mind. What, what are some things that we could be worried about? As you know, this commission or charter review process is happening? Like what what could they sneak in?
So there's kind of, you know, a spectrum of potential issues to be aware of. And at the kind of mild end of the spectrum, I think we could see a repeat of what happened with the 2010 commission. So the 2010 Commission, came together and talked a really good game about, you know, changing everything, making things better. But at the end, they basically only put together nine housekeeping changes, that were mostly geared towards clarifying some language and making sure that the charter was in compliance with state laws. So as an example, there used to be language in the charter about preventing the circulation of obscene materials in Portland. And the Oregon legislature wrote some laws that made that that charter point unenforceable. So in 2010, that the there was a ballot measure that removed that successfully. And the commission in 2010, did push for more substantive changes, but they couldn't get enough agreement inside the commission to get it past the mayor and city council. So with the 20 commissioners on the charter Review Commission, three quarters of them have to support a ballot measure to put it directly to voters. Oh, it's twenty. So only five commissioners are necessary to block a ballot initiative from going directly to voters. Now, if 10 to 14 commissioners approve a ballot or a recommendation, it goes to the city commissioners and the mayor who then get to edit it and decide whether or not to put it to the ballot.
I don't like that.
Right. So it's pretty concerning.
Does that just need a majority vote from the commissioners?
Essentially, yeah. It's pretty easy for the mayor to ignore the recommendations of the charter review commissioners, provided a couple of the city commissioners agree to ignore them.
And of course, the mayor was a participant in selecting the people who are on this commission. So it's, it's it's likely that he has the ear of at least five people
or more he plus maps plus Dan. Yeah, yeah.
He's got a bloc. Right. The court, the corporate bloc is pretty big on city council. So it's not just Wheeler, but he's a fun villain. So so let me try to repeat this back to you Thursday, to make sure I understand it, it sounds like. So there's one option where if they get full buy in between 16 and 20, of the charter review, commissioners support something, then it will go directly to a ballot? Correct. And then if that isn't successful, then if at least 10 to 14 or so it can get in front of the city council and then they get a pass on it, including being able to update the language and deciding even if it goes on a ballot? Or is that basically those are the two paths to get something from the city review. Is there any situation where like, say five city review, commissioners support something and city council really likes it? And they just adopt it? I mean, I guess that would just be them adopting a ballot initiative.
Right. So anything with fewer than 10 charter review commissioners supporting it does not officially get handed to the city council. But the city council can basically be like, Ooh, I like that idea. We're going to turn it into some legislation and look at it ourselves.
And also I mean, that can be said, I mean, it is always a time for a city council to decide to make things better. They could do that anytime.
Absolutely. We talk about here. Most of them charter changes do you have to go to the ballot, but the city council can basically with, you know, some paperwork send anything to the ballot that they really get excited about.
Right. Yeah, I think that's one like like Wheeler's ability to hide behind a quote unquote weak mayor system, I think making sure we're really clear about, you know, who gets to say, what, when, and how much support something needs before it gets on a ballot, all of those kinds of things, I think, are really important because it further clears up, you know, a situation, you know, if we're talking about this in a year or two, and not a lot of things happen. There are power dynamics that we're not seeing, you know, the public facing situation, and the meetings and the things we have access to aren't the whole story about who's trying to get what done in Portland.
And City Club, actually, I want to say in 2018, but I I'm not 100% confident, but City Club posted a an opinion, when they did all their research into forms of government that could work here, saying that there's no reason to wait for the charter Review Commission. Of course, everybody in power was like, Oh, it's 2018, we'll have a charter Review Commission in two years, let's just, you know, not worry about
it sort of gave them an excuse to put off the issue.
Could you remind our listeners what City Club is in case they're not familiar?
Oh, absolutely. So City Club is a group, well, these days, it's a group of people who are interested in civic issues. That will do research, they'll bring in speakers, they'll talk about the different things going on politically in the city. It it was originally a more exclusive organization than it is now. And I will say that it still I would say, tends towards people with time resources to think about these issues and be involved. So
and I'll have a link to that report. It was early 2019. So you're right. I mean, effectively.
There's also a great report from the League of Women Voters that I found super informative, and the League of Women Voters. Similarly, it's a group of primarily women who are interested in local governance. They write a voters guide for every election. They also tend to have the resources and time to be involved with these sorts of things. So that's an important caveat for their their materials. But they're very consistent with their research.
Yeah, it's nice to have organizations, although, you know, their political project, and their aims and goals may be different than mine. I've used the League of Women Voters, video resources, they've did a bunch of interviews with the city commissioners for the last election as an example, and really appreciate their work, even if you know, our political projects aren't identical. Yeah. Yeah. We know how they get things passed. Now we know the two things. They're thinking about the thinking about the commission form of government. And then the other thing is how we vote. Is that just voting styles like star and stuff? Or is that something else? So yeah,
so that's like proportional voting. And a couple of different things around voter education. I will say, out of all the comments that they've gotten so far, the 300 Odd. One of the other big topics that keeps coming up is homelessness. And a lot of those comments are, I would say, not from leftists. And there's some questions about, you know, what could the charter process be used? How could it address homelessness? And it
seems like a weird place to do that, doesn't it?
It is a weird place. But it's maybe not any weirder than having like the disability and death benefits for the fire department. Doesn't feel like the weirdest thing we've tacked on. Yeah.
Especially from our perspective. And Thursday, forgive me, at least Piper and I's perspective. Homelessness is a situation that you solve with housing, you build housing. So when you when you say, people are looking for solutions to homelessness, and it's like, so they're going to build some housing, and then we look at this charter. It's like, there's nothing in here to build housing. So you say Yeah, from our perspective, especially like the idea that you would solve homelessness or solve a situation resulting from people having insecure housing with a city charter seems pretty surprising. But if you're more thinking about how things are enforced if you're thinking about who's allowed to call the police on who I can see, if you're grasping at straws, like many of look, local businesses are, you know, I can see how they might just comment randomly on the city charter and just be like, we need solutions for this, even though it's not super. Well like Thursday said, you know, it's not that unusual
And Mapps brought it up specifically as his example.
And he's a PhD in government from Cornell. So we're gonna average like three mentions of his PhD in every episode,
when we're talking about negative things that could come out of the charter review process, at my most pessimistic at my most paranoid, I do wonder, you know, what kind of weird policy or approach somebody could come up with to, you know, limit where people can be homeless in the city or factors like that. Right. So that I would say, is a good anchor point for like, what could really go wrong with this process? I don't think that, based on what I've read about the different commissioners on the commission, I don't think that there's even 10 votes to do something like that. But, you know, people can be surprising. And we want to, we want to be aware of potential problems before they become problems.
Is there anything worrying about like that you have heard come up about election reform.
So election reform is kind of a complicated topic. And that is my concern about election reform. So I, I listened to City Commission and charter Review Commission sessions for fun, you know, like everybody does.
We like we like to have fun. Yeah,
Yeah, it's a good time. And part of the process is educating the review commissioners, on what options are out there, what is even feasible, and especially with election reform, because we in the US are so used to this winner take all first past the the mile marker system that we have, I am concerned at how well maybe commissioners are internalizing the different options available. And that I think speaks a little bit also to what kind of work would be necessary to actually implement some of these things. So proportional voting, as an example, is the idea that you have a bunch of candidates running, and the top seven, the top nine, the top however, many candidates, by votes are going to be the people who are elected, it's not running against each other so much as running parallel races, and everybody gets to play who meets a certain number of votes. This, this is really different from the system that we have where it's this winner take all system. And there's a lot of concern when a government of any size switches from winner take all to proportional or another system, because teaching everybody who's eligible to vote, how to participate in the system, ie, a pretty big change
I think about how people struggle to like, people do actually try to like weigh their options when they're voting. They're not like this is my favorite person. They're like, well, this is my favorite person. But this one seems like they'll win. And like, I'm thinking about those kinds of that kind of math people do when they vote seems exactly wouldn't know what to do. They already kind of don't,
they definitely don't because they like, and I, when looking at these kinds of situations might weigh, well, this person seems more likely to win, but this person is more close to my politics or whatever that usually is the question I bump into the most with people and not really evaluating like, a range of other things, including the fact that you can't be in the heads of everybody else in the city.
And when you add on top of all of these sort of pieces of mental math, that there's not like a hard agreement among political scientists of this is the best voting system ever just adopt this. It's, it's a lot of information to process so so it is
how do they get new information. So like, is there someone presenting different voting, because like I've, I've gotten to dozens of talks, maybe not hundreds of like different electoral styles and voting systems, hours and hours of content that I don't remember or, or didn't like process enough to really hold on to. And so thinking about being one of these 20 people in zoom meetings, you know, probably weekly, or a couple times a week or whatever, and hearing about voting systems and having to process that, and then also decide which is the best, and whether or not you will uproot the way people vote for like, you know, half a million people or whatever, it's, it seems like a lot.
It absolutely is. And the way that it usually works out is expert speakers are brought in. And some of these are professors, some of these are consultants. In in most cases, they do an overview of a couple of different options. A few of them, you know, have some some pretty clear opinions about what they're feeling. But there they are trying to give an overview of different options. So some of this is can be like some fairly technical mathematically based reporting, some of it can be more qualitative information. It kinda depends on the topic a little bit.
Yeah, that's fair. That's how I imagined it would work anyway. So. But again, it's
good to know,
it's a good to know. And also like, it's, it's worth putting in your head in the back of your head that like the professor that described whatever voting system, did they like it that much? Like, were they a hardcore lefty and trying to obscure their their actual opinions and like, over promoting the more conservative option, like, this is the kind of stuff I think about because I, well, I'm very self involved. And I think about my own internal monologues a lot. And so I think about what is going on in other people's heads and what they're not revealing to me as they're trying to deliver information. So yeah, that's really helpful. Thank you Thursday.
And I think that is a very important question to ask, like, the, we don't hear very much about how these experts are picked, or how they're sourced. And when they're, I mean, honestly, it's an opinion to a certain extent, when their opinions are weighed against community comments, because they're quote, unquote, experts, those opinions do have a heavier weight.
Of course, it's it. I mean, it's another in our theme of like, these are actually tools to consolidate power, most of the time, you have different sort of power, like expertise is a different kind of power than like, you know, a business owner that owns something, but still a
closer to the bootmaker. And who is that? Kropotkin? about power and authority? Who whose authority do you recognize and I recognize the Bootmakers authority, and the situation's of fixing boots. So an expert on a particular political topic might be more like the bootmaker, less like a cop, who just has authority because the state says so. But also, of course, like we're saying, and I feel like I'm constantly beating the dead horse of like, people have opinions and you don't know where they came from. But people have opinions and you don't know where they came from. And it's worth talking about the people in power and their opinions. So yeah, that's why we do all this stuff. That's why we're talking about the charter Review Commission, and trying to evaluate it and consider it thoughtfully for our neighbors because we want the best Portland possible.
I wanted to while we're on the topic of the election reform part, I wanted to share one that I think is cool, and I want to hear what you have to think about it, which I learned that it's possible for the city to allow all residents to vote, not just citizens, and I think that is very cool
Rad as fuck
um, so one, what do you Is that something you've heard people talk about Thursday? and two, what do you think about that?
Okay, so answer number two first. If you are living in the city, you should have the ability to have an impact on how the city is run. Personally, I find it incredibly abhorent that there are people who have lived in Portland for 20 years, and because they're not citizens, they don't get to vote, but somebody who moved here two weeks before the election does. That is not great.
I think like, I don't know, I got really excited about it. Because I think there's probably people like me that didn't know that this was even a possible thing. Like I thought, Oh, of course, they have to be a citizen because something something federal government, like I assumed it was, like written in stone.
So I do think that it's at least on the table, so when there are, you know, some commissioners who I do think are pretty exciting to have involved. One of them. Her name is Salome Chimuku. She's a first generation Angolan American, and she is actively advocating for making sure sure that immigrants, refugees, other folks coming to the city who may not have citizenship will still be able to have that voice. So it's at least I think going to be on the table, whether or not it makes it all the way through. We've talked about a little bit. I think it's all worth thinking about how that the franchise of voting can be extended beyond just on the question of citizenship. We've got an incredibly active youth movement in Portland at this point, in terms of climate change, in terms of speaking out against ICE, all these other topics. We could also lower the age for voting
Honestly, I think that there's really strong arguments for even the youngest of voters to be included, like, the way that we talk about not letting kids vote is the same way that, frankly, past folks have talked historically about not letting people of certain races or certain genders vote.
Yep, yep, absolutely.
So I think that that's also a point worth talking about.
Thursday, I was feeling a little bit more bummed earlier on. But now like hearing, hearing a little bit about like the idea of expanding power to other people that don't have it right now, the idea of like maybe a few more people having access to even just voice an opinion, of course, one vote is only so much, but like being able to participate such a massive deal, and could be such a benefit for all of Portland.
So I fully admit that I am a pessimist and I bring down the room. And with this charter review process, I think that it's very reasonable to be pessimistic, like, the reality is that it's very easy for those in power to prevent any substantive change from happening.
And as you've already pointed out, like, you know, the people were picked by people already in power. So there, you know, there's probably some alignment.
And we got the first round, that was just housecleaning, he already got the last version.
Plus the "strong mayor" was one of the things that came out of it. So we can tell those incentives of like you were picked by the mayor, and you make the mayor stronger, might be having some effect on this process.
So that said, I do think that there are things about the charter review process that leftists can really use in terms of how we make change in the city overall. So are, are either of you familiar with the concept of the Overton window?
Yeah, but let's talk about it, you explain it like we weren't.
So the Overton Window is a political science concept. It's also sometimes referred to as the window of discourse. And basically, it's the idea that there is a set kind of range of policies that are politically acceptable or politically feasible to pass, especially in terms of the the mainstream population at any given time. So there's kind of this spectrum, right. An idea could be policy right now. So like, right now, policy is that police officers have a certain amount of power, an idea can be popular or sensible or acceptable. So, for instance, we're starting to see things like Portland Street response become more acceptable or more mainstream now and we're starting to see it maybe even moving towards the policy end of the spectrum, though, we're not fully there yet.
Yeah, at this point, we've got people like Mingus Mapps, attaching their cop funding, to PSR to try to get it, like sneak it into the public safety conversation. He's saying like, well, we need body cameras and more staffing for cops. And of course, we're gonna fund Portland Street Response, as though it's like a package deal for public safety. When leftists know the cops don't provide public safety.
And then we have things at the other end of the spectrum from policy, we have things that are very radical or for mainstream, maybe even unthinkable, like fully abolishing the police. I'd love to see that as policy. But right now, at least it's not acceptable to mainstream folks, at least to the point where they're willing to push politicians to do
like most people can't really imagine it even. Like it's outside of the range of thing they could conceive of,
though I do feel that we're seeing it move, it's not necessarily unthinkable anymore. It's now just really radical.
Yeah. So in talking about the Overton Window talking about, you know, the last year and a half of the uprising and protests in Portland and what people have been considering as possible, I think a lot of the smaller conversations, not necessarily, you know, big protests are good, and lots of action is good, but a lot of the smaller conversations around, well, here's our situation, like there are fewer police in Portland, because they've run away scared from the protesters. And so they're understaffed, for sure. And so the things that they are committing to do in town they cannot do. And so, you know, random neighbor has some situation where, you know, normally a person would call the police, suddenly, they're confronted with the idea that like the police, not only can I not call them because they're not coming, but also you start thinking through what what would they have done if they got here, so I can sort it out and you realize, oh, write down some stuff,
Be mean to me
be annoying, be mean to me and assume that I did a crime or whatever. I think I think a lot of that those small conversations, that result out of the material conditions that are in the city, they're kind of the results of real, aggressive political movements, are some of some of the most valuable things that leftists have in town, to to move the conversation, like you're talking about to move the Overton window to move the idea of what's possible for all of our neighbors, because a lot of us if we talk for a couple hours, and smoke enough weed or drink or hang out or whatever, if it goes long enough, you can get people there. So the question is, how to get everybody there over time.
Exactly. And I think that you're making a really important point. That's not always really understood about Overton windows. The politicians and legislature don't set the Overton window. They don't
They don't decide what mainstream communities think are acceptable. They merely take a look at what mainstream communities think are acceptable, and then work around it or work with it. Usually, at the farthest end of the spectrum, usually things that the rest of the community already says this should be policy or this should be implemented. That's where politicians fall,
although, I guess I would argue that they attempt to control it all the time, especially with their alliances like with media organizations, and things like that.
For sure, and I think there's there's a distinction there between politician and a political leader. Hmm, you know, me, I'm Mister no hierarchy, no leaders, boy, but recognize that there are like, there are people in the community who have a broader audience or, or have a lot of people paying attention or whatever. And they are kind of de facto leaders, they are voices in the city. And politicians think of themselves as that. They think of themselves as the leaders, but really, they're more like the kind of outer limits in the framing that Thursday is giving us they're kind of they said, you know, we might have say Hardesty more on the lefty side, we got a Mingus Mapps on the righty kind of side, but they're, they're setting the limits for what they will allow the city to do to shape itself around, Portlanders and to be shaped by by our decisions and kind of all of the the power players and people funding their campaigns and people working with them are of course in their ear and saying, Well, we can't get rid of all the police yet, right. So it's kind of, whereas before, I kind of found myself thinking, oh, we need to convince these politicians. The reality is, and we identified you can listen to the last episode, some politicians have a political project, some don't. But the reality is, there's no moving of a politician, you need to move the people.
And I think that's the real opportunity with this charter review is not necessarily moving the politicians, but moving the community of Portland, to think much more critically about who gets to lead, who gets to participate in power, who gets to vote. And honestly, if you know, the charter Review Commission doesn't really succeed at making any changes. It could be a valuable opportunity to get people more, I would say emotionally involved, but really what I'm saying is get angrier about the process, get them more aware of what's not working and why it isn't working.
We've talked we've talked in the past about how like testifying in you know, the community listening sessions has nothing to do with like convincing the politicians there, but it is like utilizing a platform. I'm kind of thinking of this the same way like this process is a platform
and even the most radical of ideas that go through the comment or testimony process for the charter review commission get reported on. Like, it's not just the platform of being able to talk to politicians in a way that we're not always able to, or talk to other members of the community, that this is a process that the media does look at, they may not report on it the way that we want them to, especially if say they have a advertising contract written into the city charter itself, not naming any,
But it is something that they will have to acknowledge and have to talk about. So I do want to talk a little bit about some of the things that would be ideal to get out of this system, not necessarily likely to happen, but that would really make some good changes.
Yeah, Plant, plant your seeds, love to hear your ideas,
what I would see as absolute minimum goals for more equitable representation, if we're going to, you know, stick with this whole city council sort of setup we have going rather than something with a little less hierarchy. At an absolute minimum, we need to increase the number of city councilors. The the charter Review Commission is talking about numbers like seven or nine or maybe 12, which is frankly, way too low. outside of the US, for city this size, we would be talking usually about 50-plus city councillors, Dublin, oh, Dublin, Ireland is about the same size as Portland, they have 63 city councilors like there's, there's so much power spread out that it's actually a lot easier for them to do things. There's also what's called the cube root rule, which is usually talked about more on a national level. But a couple of political scientists took a look at what are arguably the most representative legislative bodies on the national level and arguably more functional. And they came up with the cube root rule, which is the number of members of the legislative body should be a cube root of the population that they represent of their constituents.
So you're going to have to help me with the math here.
Math in advance because I cannot I can't do [someting] in my head. So I wrote this down, I did these numbers already. In 2020, Portland's population was 600,060, or excuse me, 662,549, the cubic root of which is around 87. It's like 86, and some change. But that's 87 counselors would be the ideal from a political science perspective, for managing a city of this size, which is even more than what Dublin has.
But when we're talking about Overton windows, the Overton window for number of councillors on a city council in the US is between essentially five and 18 ish, there's some outliers in the low 20s. But nobody has anything approaching that cube root number. Whereas the Overton window outside the US is above 50. Not quite hitting that cube root in a lot of cases, but much, much, much closer.
I saw this conversation, I think it was actually in one of the charter review commissioners, threads on Twitter asking for feedback, and saw people talking about 50 or 60, it might have even been you Thursday talking, talking about these kind of more, in my mind, they're more like Congress-sized bodies. So instead of having just a couple people that are running bureaus, you've got like a body of people who are voting on things. And of course, I'm sure, you know, I wouldn't necessarily, myself know enough to define their other responsibilities, but with the idea that there's so many more people with smaller amounts of power, so that, as an example, large corporations or big, big pockets would find it much more difficult to sway, you know, about like 50 people versus like, swaying two people. Because, you know, you only need a majority, right. So on our city council with just the five people it's pretty easy to get there.
Currently, they're talking like seven, nine, twelve--Is that all assuming that they wouldn't be elected at large that they would be like district level representatives, or district I don't know what to call it area.
That's an ongoing Conversation is whether to implement districts or to keep at large or to do a mix. There's a report by let me just make sure I've got this name, right. Moon Duchin, who is a professor of Mathematics at Tufts University, analyzing a bunch of different cities for how they could be divided into districts that would allow voters of color to more reliably elect a candidate of choice. Now
seems like a good a good goal,
right? Duchin looked at a bunch of different cities, including Portland. The analysis mathematically came back saying that even if Portland goes up to nine members on a city council, there is no way to lay out districts that would guarantee reliably that voters of color elect a candidate of choice, there's no way to do it,
just because of the population size and where people live
Exactly. And they tried some, like very gerrymandered district lines to try to get it. The big thing that makes the difference for the question of reliably getting that candidate of choice is proportional voting. And proportional voting can work either in districts or city wide. But the numbers basically work out that about a third of the candidates for in proportional race are probably somebody's candidate of choice, rather than, you know, a big push by the community at large kind of agreeing on somebody. But the question for Portland, is how that math would play out either at a citywide proportional vote, or district wide proportional votes. I personally am persuaded by the argument that going by district means that it would be less expensive to get involved. But once again, not a lawyer, not a political scientist, this is just after reading a bunch of things and listening to people. So it's an opinion, nothing more.
I'm interested in the District versus like this, this this question of at large vote voting, I guess. It's I'm really glad you mentioned that there's some question of even if we did it, like with district style representation, that would still be difficult for local groups of voters, particularly people of color, Black folks and stuff to get a candidate choice into office. Because the other side of that it sounds like if we did expand the numbers, right, if we were electing say, call it 15, maybe sounds like a number that's inside the window, but maybe it's still gettable. And since we had it before we can make some pretty good ads about it. Remember, back in 1912,
no. And also, it was worse then but. So my question then is more. So you're in your mind expanding, expanding the City Council, to more people to spread out that power? And then maybe not doing district stuff just yet? is probably the way is that what you're thinking? Is that your
Like in terms of priorities,
I would say that proportional voting has to be a higher priority than things like district voting. proportional voting, I think gets us closer to where we want to be compared to most of the other things on the table. And there's, you know, so many different varieties of proportional voting that there are still lots of other conversations to have within that like that. It's not, you know, just a simple one and done. But that's what I would say would be a big focus.
I think that makes a lot of sense. And I think from a, like a political strategy angle, it's it seems to me just kind of thinking about it casually over the last few minutes. It's not really a lot of expertise. Again, it seems like it would be easier to convince this the city at large at large, so speak to, you know, increase city council and then change the voting style, rather than increase City Council also switch to district stuff also change the voting style.
It does feel like coalescing around a few things is probably easier because it's less confusing, because you don't have to think about all the interaction effects as much
for sure the education piece seems daunting. I honestly, as you're talking about this, I'm realizing that there's a big education piece we should participate in. And maybe also we should probably write down the timelines of the charter review process.
I'm I'm struggling right now and I signed up to talk about this. I'm imagining the people that didn't sign up and are just like seeing an ad. It's gonna be hard to have any of this sink in
like proportional voting is definitely one of the things that moves that the most things for the most people in the right direction. I think removing citizenship restrictions on who is eligible to vote is another one of those things that moves the needle a lot for a lot of people in the right direction.
That one also has like a moral. I feel like it has like a moral like vibe behind it. Yeah, as much as the other things are more political strategy and stuff. And this should give us this result, increasing the amount of people that can even offer an opinion on it seems like a big deal.
It feels like it feels like it's in line also with Portlanders wanting to think of themselves as like a sanctuary city.
hell yeah, yeah.
Being a welcoming place. Like I think I think it's in line with the way we want to imagine ourselves to be Yeah, not not even just me specifically. But like many
I'm already writing the campaign, no more white savior.
The third thing that I would say would move things in the right direction quite a bit is just flat out eliminating the May primary.
Interesting. Tell me Tell me about that. I hadn't really thought about that before.
Even if we get proportional voting, the May primary is a way to kind of control who's voting because people are most likely to vote in like general elections in November when you know, it's officially Election Day everybody pays attention.
We know that turnout is higher, right?
Even in Portland with our wonderful vote by mail system and all of these efforts around getting out the vote in May. We never have a great turnout. I think 30% is considered a good turnout for us for the May primary. And to make it even less comfortable, the folks most likely to vote in May tend, demographically speaking, to be older, wealthier and whiter.
This actually falls into my no white, no more white saviors campaign. So we might be able to, we might be able to combine the two.
Absolutely. But if we really want a more equitable system, if we really want people to actually be able to participate. If we get rid of the May primary, especially the the whole 50% or two people move on system, because that's weird, sketchy as hell. Yeah, it's very sketchy. It's an easy way to remove people who could build a coalition but don't for various reasons. And if we make it easier to vote on election day, like making sure that if somebody needs time off to drop off their ballot that like, they legally are entitled to that time, which they currently are not. Oh, yeah, those sorts of things, even though, like, let's be honest, eliminating a primary is not a sexy point to come together on. It's not exciting or anything like that, but it has a huge impact. Technically, you know, the sky's the limit on what the charter Review Commission can propose changing they could they could propose changing getting rid of the mayor entirely there are cities without mayor
I personally as you know, am and gunning for dog mayor's so that's that's what I'm gonna propose
Dog mayor 2024
I could get behind the dog mayor.
But if held the city commissioners are making the decisions and the dog was just there for like, cool photo ops.
Yeah, don't we? I mean, come on. We're Portlandia
I mean, that's the the extreme version of the week Mayor strong Council system
also cute. We may have to adjust some state laws as well for that. But you know, they're just laws. They're, they're just pieces of paper that we can talk about.
All of them can be changed, right. And I think a dog mayor is worth it.
But I think that there are like some minimum goals that would be maybe a little bit more doable than the dog mayor
you do have me very excited about the all residents voting one that one is one I I feel like I can make a make a big stink about personally myself. Yeah, emotionally.
Yeah. I think that there's there are things that even if we can't get the charter Review Commission to actually get it through, we can get people excited. We can get people talking about you know, doing their own ballot initiatives doing other kinds of activism around building systems that provide the infrastructure they need internally that look more like that whatever makes sense for an individual community. I'm, I never want to dictate, you have to participate in the system like I don't even want to participate in this system. But I think it's important to know what the system is doing. Like there's, there's an Audrey Lorde quote that I think about a lot. The Masters tools will never dismantle the Masters House. But if you don't know what's in the Masters House, you don't know if you need to show up with a crowbar or a wrecking ball to dismantle it, you know, you still have to have a little bit of knowledge about how to take that fucker apart even if you're not using their tools.
This has been an absolute delight. I learned a ton you blew my mind multiple times. And I am just also really appreciative that there are people like you out there that are willing to dig into stuff I find incredibly boring when I tried to do it on my own, but much more interesting and enlightening when I talk to people like you, so thank you for doing that for Well,
thank you for letting me talk about it because not everybody wants to hear all my opinions about the charter process.
I've already messaged you about the next recording.