Have something to say? Lookout welcomes letters to the editor, within our policies, from readers. Guidelines here.
To the editor:
We see Cyndi Dawson’s recent op-ed as helpful, but it is also important to describe the “disproportional representation” in our city more exactly.
In 2018 and 2020, only 46% of all citizens’ votes cast elected the Santa Cruz City Council’s seven members, leaving 54% of votes wasted because they did not help to elect a candidate of those voters’ choice. This also means that each 4-to-3 “majority” decision represents only 26% of the electorate. This is “minority” rule.
A similar percentage of votes was wasted by our flawed November election — flawed because April’s Measure E did not give voters an option to reject district elections.
The lack of proportional representation to elect the council is unnecessary because proportional ranked-choice voting (PRCV) has been available for many years. For example, PRCV has been used for many decades by Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is now used by Albany, California.
In Santa Cruz, using PRCV would guarantee that 88% of the voters would see a candidate that they had marked as “preferred” on their ballot be elected.
In December 2021, Councilmember Sandy Brown formally asked the relevant three-member subcommittee of the council to study this alternative. They refused to do this. This seems to be another example of negligence on the part of the existing majority in the council.
Stephen Bosworth and Stevan Leonard