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Friday, November 12, 2010
Quantum Vote Redistribution/Stealing in OAKLAND
Oakland California voters have been burned by the latest disguised gerrymandering scheme, called “ranked voting” (origin a Maryland “think tank”, early adopter, San Francisco). That beleaguered city has a new mayor that only 24% of its voters have agreed to.
The ostensible purpose of this bizarre scheme was avoiding the expense of a runoff. But the actual effect was something else: The “election” of a leader – at a time of severe crisis in a high crime city teetering on the edge of chaos with a crippled police force – who lacks any pretense of a mandate.
Mayor elect, City Councilwoman Jean Quan, defeated former State Senator Don Perata in a several candidate race by getting agreements from other candidates to campaign against Perata. Voters were asked to rank their preferences in the race, 1, 2, and 3 – anybody but Don.
This new – and virtually untried system – then took over like some rogue algorithm, allocating the second and third choices in a way that guaranteed Mr. Perata’s defeat, and Mr. Quan’s non-mandate.
I use the term gerrymandering advisedly. That game – as political insiders know all too well – is designed to turn pocket micro-majorities into an overall faux majority. In San Francisco, this explains how the city can get a comparatively moderate mayor – elected at large… like Willie Brown or Gavin Newsome (the moderate term is a relative measurement) while a majority of the council members remain members of the unbalanced left.
Please note: I make no judgment about Mayor Quan here. After the disastrous non-leadership of Mayor Ron Dellums, almost anyone will look good, and almost no one will have an easy time of it. Whether “Oaktown” can be rescued remains an open question, but the fate of ranked voting schemes should be clear: Don’t try this at home.
Jay B Gaskill is a California lawyer who served as the Alameda County Public defender before her left his “life of crime” to devote full time to writing. His profile is posted at www.jaygaskill.com/Profile.pdf .
Mr. Gaskill’s Thriller, The Stranded Ones, is available as a downloadable on-line book for your laptop, iPad or other mobile device from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other vendors.