2009-08-20 / Letters to the Editor

Charter Review Committee clarification

Since the Press editorial concerning the potential change of Jamestown’s elections from odd years to even years, I have been contacted by several people who assumed that the change was recommended by the 2009 Charter Review Commission, which I was proud to be a member of. To set the record straight, Town Council President DiGiando, who acted as the liaison to the charter commission, suggested the possible change to the commission and we did not approve the change or make it one of our recommendations.

Although the charter requires a review at least every six years, there is no mandate that any recommendations given to the Town Council will move forward to the voters. The Town Council has the final say.

The charter also gives the Town Council the power to present changes to the voters anytime.

In this case, during the review of our recommendations, Council President DiGiando persisted with his desire to change the elections to even years to coincide with the statewide elections. His council agreed to move forward with the change.

I, for one, have always thought that part of the greatness and successes that Jamestown has achieved as a municipality and community is due to the uniqueness of our off-year elections.

Simply put, voters who turn out to select their local government without any distractions from state and national campaigns are 100 percent focused on what is best for the community.

The proposed benefit of saving $5,000 per year is so insignificant to our $20 million budget that if we weren’t in a recession, it would be totally laughable. Besides, I certainly would not want to risk our ability to choose quality government for what comes out to be about $1 per year, per registered voter.

The other reason given to make the change is to increase voter participation, but yet the last change in the charter that moved our elections from May to November resulted in a seven percent decrease in voter turnout.

I believe that the real motive to move our elections to coincide with the even-year general elections is for total and absolute dominance by the Democrat party. There would be no contest! End of story! A total single-party system!

Considering all their dedicated straight ticket voters, any non-Democrat party candidate would need to overcome a typical 350 additional vote advantage that the general election rewards Democrat party candidates from our district. Their dominance would make it impossible for any other party or independent candidate to overcome the headstart that their Democrat party candidates would enjoy.

I hope that all odd-year voters of Jamestown reject this charter amendment and preserve the tradition that makes us so special and remember that it was not the 2009 Charter Review Commission that put forward the question.
Sav Rebecchi
Jamestown

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