Letter: ‘Ashland City Council needs open elections’

December 8, 2022

In response to the article about Bob Kaplan with Jill Franko’s comments about the APRC PAC’s influence.

1. The most serious consequence about how City Council elections are held is the impact of having councilors run in “Positions 1-4,” replacing “Districts 1-4.” That forces two highly qualified candidates to compete against each other with one “losing.” The districts are gone, yet the positions replicate them. Ashland City Council needs open elections so that all candidates can be chosen by the voters, not by restricting their options to four groups of candidates in which only one can “win” in each group (position). By having open elections where all candidates compete against each other, and by using ranked choice voting, the voters have the best chance of having their top choices show clearly in each election.

2. The outsized influence of the political actions commission (PAC) backing Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission positions in Ashland’s election is a point well taken.  PACs — especially super-PACs in our national elections as funded by wealthy donors and corporations — corrupt the election results. At the national, state, county and local elections, candidates and ballot measures should be restricted to what they can place in the pro and con statements in the official voters guides. Doing so equalizes the playing field by the mandated limits on the pro and con statements with any pro and con rebuttal statements. The corrupting influence of any PAC is thus eliminated. Again, by using ranked-choice voting, the ballot measures can reflect the choices of the voters in priority order.

Richard Simonds

Ashland

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