Su Lum: Slumming
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
At http://www.electmarilynmarks.com (running in 2011, one assumes), you’ll find a questionnaire about instant run-off voting (IRV) that gives some hints what to watch for as she continues to bludgeon our city government for the next two years.
Known for her plethora of complaints and dearth of solutions, her position on IRV is in itself a good one for the citizen-watch workbooks. Marilyn was opposed to IRV from the beginning, was the primary source of unrest about a basically simple system (which went off like clockwork), then, ironically, ran for mayor on a platform of restoring public confidence.
Her preferred solution to IRV is to go back to the run-off election the public had so roundly thumped down in the first place, ignoring the history of how we got to this point.
It is difficult to follow Marks’ circular reasoning in the best of circumstances, because “solution” is not part of the game; the game is disruption. Marilyn rallied homeowners to oppose Ordinance 30, demanded a list of homeowners whose property might be designated historic, then challenged the list (which was so small by then as to be laughable), then demanded a Citizens’ Task Force, then railed against the task force for being too large (if it were too small it would be too exclusive): a dog chasing its tail.
One of the items on the IRV questionnaire is: “If the ‘Sequential Elimination’ IRV method (as used in the mayor’s race) were used in the council race, rather than the much debated IRV “Batch Method,” it appears that Adam Frisch would have won the council race rather than Torre. Would that mathematical anomaly surprise you?”
Take a good look at the false premise in the statement preceding the question. “IF” system A were used instead of system B, “IT APPEARS” that Frisch would have won. I have not seen an iota of proof of the contention that Frisch would have won. Someone in the audience said it at a City Council meeting. One would have to have access to all of the ballots cast (if they’re available, I want copies) to make such a statement.
Along the same line, another question was, “How do you feel about the validity of the tabulation system?” and one of the answers was, “I am expecting to see a hand count to test the system, as discussed during the Council approval of IRV.” This is an example of the surreptitious lie. The Council DID discuss this question, but attorney Jim True and City Clerk Kathryn Koch were adamant and very clear that there would NOT be a hand count. There could be re-counts, by computer, to verify the results, but no hand counts.
Another thing to look for in this questionnaire is the subtle trick of innuendo, a Marks specialty. “Do you favor keeping local elections in May, or moving them to a time of year when more people are in town?” Again, this question, typical of newbies, ignores the history of “how we got here” as well as the number of absentee votes from those who understand what to do if they’re going to be out of town on election day.
But the point here is that, among the responses (check as many as you like) was this: “Have them in November to conform with State and National elections and their stricter rules.” In other words, a little hint that maybe having our elections in May isn’t strictly legal, that maybe our hard-fought Home Rule Charter isn’t good for Aspen.