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Outdated Elections

May 01, 1988

Recently, the mayor and several members of the City Council expressed their opposition to district elections before the Charter Review Commission, with very weak reasoning for their specific objections.

Many major cities in the country have separate district elections, including Los Angeles. I can see no reason why this would hinder the operation of the City Council. The benefits would include: more district representation, less influence by lobbyists, lower cost of elections, more responsibility toward the improvement of the neighborhoods and a greater sense of participation of the electorate in government.

Our council size does not adequately represent the growth of San Diego over the past decade. We have one representative for every 127,000 people. With a current population of more than 1 million, we should reapportion the council districts, increasing the number of council seats to 10, thus reducing the number of constituents per member to 100,000. This figure should be reassessed at every census so that we maintain that ratio.

The mayor should preside over the council, with only a tie-breaking vote in proceedings. This would allow the mayor more time to act on behalf of the city without severely hampering the function of the council.

San Diego has grown to become the second-largest city in California and the sixth-largest city in the country. It is time we bring our method of electing our council members and mayor in line with their responsibilities.

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

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