Friday, July 09, 2010


  • Democrats battle independents' weakening support of Obama and Congress (By Dan Balz, Washington Post) "Independent voters aren't partisans; they're pragmatists," said Democratic strategist Steve McMahon. "What they really want is bipartisanship, fiscal restraint and balanced approaches to problem solving. And they tend to punish the party in power -- whether Republican or Democrat -- when they believe any of those things are too far out of balance."
  • Strange Bedfellows - Poll: Banks, corporations caused global crisis (Seattle Post Intelligencer)
  • Steve Peace: California Revolutionary - The man who is changing the way California—and possibly the rest of the country—elects its leaders is a political maverick with an eccentric legacy in both Sacramento and Hollywood (By Ben Elgin and Christopher Palmeri, Bloomberg Businessweek) Having won over California voters, Peace's movement is going national. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has impaneled a commission that is, among other things, exploring an open primary initiative for New York City's November ballot. (Bloomberg is the founder of Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek.) Voters elsewhere may soon be considering the option as well.
  • Governor Terminator's Parting Gift: CA Prop 14 Almighty (Open Salon) Without much fanfare or debate, California voters, weary, frustrated and apparently getting more passive by the proposition, approved Prop 14 this past June.
  • CITY NOTES (by Theodore Hamm, The Brooklyn Rail) The Top Two proposal is worth considering, as is “Instant-Runoff Voting”, which would allow voters to rank their preferences. Yet there is something missing from the whole debate: the role of money.
  • City commission to test term limits - Mayor's charter review panel will give voters a chance to change term limits, but probably not to implement nonpartisan elections. (Crain's New York) Mr. Goldstein said non-partisan elections are “an area we have not spent much time discussing.” Commissioners have said that more time would be needed for the public to debate the issue.
  • As Voter Turnout Dwindles, Some Look to a Tiny Agency for Help (by Ray Katz, Gotham Gazette) Established as part of sweeping changes to the city's charter in 1988, the Voter Assistance Commission is responsible for identifying under-registered segments of the city's population and enabling eligible residents to register and vote. It is intended to serve as a bridge between city government and the voters.
  • Charter Commission Forms To-Do List (By: Grace Rauh, NY1) The commission may also come under pressure from New Yorkers who want to end partisan political primaries and replace them with non-partisan elections. The commission chairman says such a change is unlikely to land on the ballot this year. But those in favor of non-partisan elections say they aren't giving up yet, and insist the issue is still alive. "We are a city of eight million people, and yet in our representative democracy, the vast majority of seats are effectively decided in closed partisan primaries that lock out the vast majority of citizens," said John Avlon of Citizens Union.
  • Instant Runoff Voting Is Under Review - Charter Revision Commission Weighs a Proposal to Prevent Voters From Having to Make Second Visits to the Polls (By MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL, Wall Street Journal) Ms. Cohen predicted it would ultimately be "unlikely we could bake" the idea in time to place it on the ballot this year. "But," she said, "it's something we should be looking at."
  • Charter Revision Commission not recommending more local control of city gov't in preliminary report (Peter N. Spencer, SI Advance) The staff of the Charter Revision Commission does not recommend giving voters the opportunity to change the centralized structure of city government or give more power to local authorities in its preliminary report to the commissioners, expected to be made public tomorrow.
  • City Can't Afford 2010 Elections, Board Says (By JILLIAN SCHARR, NBC NY) The City can't afford both primary and general election races this year, the Board of Elections says. A projected $19 million shortfall in the board's budget means that the city might have to choose between either the primaries or the general election because there's not enough funding to hold both, the Board announced at its regular commissioners meeting in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday night, City Hall News reports.
  • Claims of Dysfunction At City Clerk's Lobbying Bureau (by Courtney Gross, Gotham Gazette)

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