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Calls Claim 'Absurd'

July 28, 1985

This refers to Loraine Ramsdell's letter in your July 14 edition, entitled: "Support for Council." Ms. Ramsdell confesses to be confused about the fact that the voters elect a City Council, and then, by trying to pass a Managed Growth Initiative, attempt to take the power of decision making away from the council.

Ideally, it should be as Ms. Ramsdell states, namely that we should trust the officials we elect to act in the best interest of all citizens. Unfortunately, this is frequently not the way it works, and the political realities are quite different.

Most elections, and our council elections are no exception, are strongly influenced by money, a good deal of which is supplied by development interests. As a result they get favored treatment.

Add to that the fact that we elect council members on a citywide basis, rather than by district, as it should be, and the balance is upset further. Citywide elections in a large city are an anomaly. Most people barely know their own council member, let alone those in far-off districts. As a result , they must rely on the media and propaganda for information about candidates. Obviously, those with adequate funds can exercise a stronger influence.

The last election is a good case in point. After Bob Filner and Celia Ballesteros won handily in their districts, the Republicans, who were opposed to these candidates in this supposedly "nonpartisan" election, put on a last-minute propaganda blitz and scare campaign, and they succeeded in defeating both by narrow margins.

When we permit elections to be conducted in this manner, it is understandable that we do not get council members who represent the interests of the ordinary citizens. The initiative process is necessary to balance this. If we ever get to the point where the council is elected fairly, perhaps that won't be necessary.

To make the claim that the council members are more qualified than knowledgeable citizens to address the issue of growth is absurd. If one were to maintain such a position, it would be tantamount to abdicating entirely and surrendering all decision-making, without ever raising a question to our elected officials. As it is, they don't pay too much attention to the public, and undoubtedly, they would be pleased with such and attitude.

HANS JOVISHOFF

San Diego

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