Re: Local Politics

1

x.trapnel has a longstanding proposal to solve this problem.


Posted by: Knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 8:23 AM
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I wish there was more structure to an election that decreased the need for candidates to be intensely charismatic and have such wild stamina for social interactions.

Sounds like interviewing for faculty jobs.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 8:25 AM
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We just had an election where the things on the ballot were (a) largely uncontested city council races (b) community college board member elections (feel the excitement!) and (c) ballot measures changing the election calendar so that we have fewer pointless election days.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 9:08 AM
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Basically, my view is that maybe 1 out of ten elected offices in the United States should continue to be elected offices. Why school boards are elective as opposed to appointed positions is beyond me.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 9:12 AM
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I can't decide if elected or appointed would be worse in this town. Certainly it is a super entrenched good old boy's club, and at least with an election, my friend has a shot at mobilizing enough people to get in.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 9:14 AM
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So many things to blame on the Progressives! It made sense in the machine era, I guess, but now the political establishment is encrusted into vote-garnering considerations.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 9:18 AM
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Why school boards are elective as opposed to appointed positions is beyond me.

Being open to the general electorate is mad; there's a case they should be (partially?) elected by the parents and teachers.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 9:26 AM
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This does kind of make me sad. Local politics is the sort of thing I feel as if I should want to be involved in. But the actual concrete skills necessary are things that sound to me like sticking pins in my eyes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 9:27 AM
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I'm a bit surprised there's so much schmoozing in a school board election. How much flesh is there available to be pressed?

6: I'm not sure how fine-grained elections made sense as an anti-machine reform, when the machines stood up all the candidates? In judicial elections I'm just ratifying the Democratic slate.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 10:08 AM
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9.2: Aren't most school and judicial elections set up as nonpartisan?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 10:22 AM
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I'm a bit surprised there's so much schmoozing in a school board election. How much flesh is there available to be pressed?

I don't know how Heebieville compares to other districts - we have 1 giant public pre-k, 6 elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. Anyway, that's a lot teachers, parents, and lots of meddlesome aging white super-entitledTexans who expect to be allowed to run the town despite their lack of experience.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 10:34 AM
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7: School boards in most places have tax-setting authority.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 10:38 AM
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Counterpoint to the "appoint everything" position: how many Presidentially-appointed positions are vacant now, or were vacant for years, for partisan reasons?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 10:38 AM
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For judges, I like the Missouri plan, as I have mentioned before.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 10:39 AM
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10 -- Our school board is non-partisan. Still, though, the local democratic party will host a candidate forum, and I'm pretty sure we can endorse candidates.

Who's on the school board is a big damn deal. I think the possibility of a popular insurgency is important enough to put up with the inconvenience of elections.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 10:53 AM
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12: true, and the fact that schools are mostly locally funded is a much bigger problem than the fact that you need some charisma to get into a leadership position over them.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 11:29 AM
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9 - I'm guessing the smaller size actually makes it worse in a lot of ways. If 300,000 people are going to be voting for or against you you basically have to make a set of token meetings, walk through a crowd shaking hands, give a speech at the county fair, and maybe have some volunteers go talk to people in some of the important areas. If 75 people are going to be voting you pretty much have to go talk to each and every one of them, and for a lot longer.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 11:30 AM
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If the electorate will cast 300,000 votes, what you do is talk to people who might give you money.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 11:45 AM
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17 In 2012, the average for winning members of Congress was 181,000 votes. People running for Congress don't just give a speech at the county fair and go to some token meetings. And they don't just meet with donors either, although there's plenty of that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 11:55 AM
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I think I'd enjoy being a part of government, but I'm constitutionally incapable of that kind of glad-handing, so it ain't never going to happen.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 12:20 PM
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I keep thinking I should go to a meeting or something, but I never do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 12:22 PM
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21: Me too, and now I've got a senior and a sophomore and eh, at this point why even bother with the delusion that one day I'll go.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 12:32 PM
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I meet all the criteria for the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club (registered Democrat, in 14th Ward, have $15). However, I once met the person who was then president when we were both in a bar. We talked about local political blogs and he remembered what I said in the comments on those blogs. If I do join, I'm not going to be allowed into a responsible position is what I'm saying.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 12:33 PM
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Speaking of local politics, my town's founder at Hark, a Vagrant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 12:42 PM
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I appreciate that KR has taken care of my otherwise obligatory contribution to this thread on my behalf, and in the very first comment, at that!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 12:44 PM
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My view is, basically, why should anything be decided by pointless political meetings that no one but annoying busybodies wants to or has the time to go to, or by elected officials that no one can actually personally name. Fewer elected officials with clearer executive responsibility actually enhances democratic accountability. If you just vote for e.g. the mayor, but know that the mayor has responsibility for the school system, the mayor actually has some personal accountability for what happens with the school system. When it's five faceless nobodies, each of whom has a vote, no one but annoying assholes know what's going on or cares, and politics is dominated by some special interest or another (here, locally, it's basically the union that dominates which is fine by me, but still. And that's in a multi-billion dollar budget school system where being a school board member is definitely a full time political job).

For schools, if you're not just going to hand them over to city government, at a minimum there should be one person, the education czar, whom you can vote for every four years or so and who has responsibility for education. One person, that's it, one election. The rest of these elections are fucking bullshit.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 12:47 PM
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If there's only one person elected to run the school, you've largely cutout any minority voice.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 12:53 PM
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Which are otherwise awesomely protected by school board elections, and are also actually necessary for the administration of the school system. NEXT. Of course the real problem is that we have local school districts in the first place, as pointed out somewhere above.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 12:56 PM
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One person, one election, one education czar!


Posted by: Vote Godwin for School Board | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:01 PM
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28 is ridiculously dismissive. Our district has 4 of 9 school board seats filled by black people. It hasn't been perfect, but certainly it makes it harder to ignore minority view points.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:01 PM
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I'm sure the Pittsburgh school system is both awesomely run and impressively democratic.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:07 PM
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In Halfordissmo, the schools run on time.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:08 PM
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26: I WILL TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO READ, WRITE AND FIGURE ... WITH AN IRON FIST!


Posted by: OPINIONATED FLIPPANTER'S POLITICAL ID | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:15 PM
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There was the time when the son of Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. was put in charge of the Pittsburgh school system and assigned the task of working with the RAND Corporation to decide which schools to close. That seemed relatively undemocratic


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:16 PM
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You don't think that pattern (majority white in a metropolitan area but with majority minority districts) isn't very common in the U.S. and that figuring out ways to spend less money in the majority-minority schools isn't the main driving force behind about 50% of all local politics?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:17 PM
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35 to 31.

34: Undemocratic compared to what?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:20 PM
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35 -- I'm not being 100% serious with my school czar plan, but the main problem with school funding (nationally) isn't actually that, it's that schools are mostly funded by local property taxes, and that rich people are clever enough to play around with jurisdictional boundaries to make sure that their schools get funded while other schools don't. In other words the problem you point to is largely governed by drawing boundaries, and can't be solved by additional representation. Ideally you'd abolish school districts altogether and just have a national or state educational system, ideally with only minimal local control and involvement. That seems to produce both better (in terms of education) and more equitable results than whatever we're doing in the US.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:26 PM
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The boundaries are indeed a bigger problem, but there are a great many relatively large urban school districts and I think the removing the boards from those would make things much worse and not in any way that could plausibly be called "heightening the contradictions." And the problem I'm pointing to isn't merely funding being divided across school districts, but how it is spent by neighborhood within a district. Boards selected by geographic region, do indeed make a tremendous difference.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:30 PM
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38 I will dispute as being factually just not true. Or more precisely that, sure, local school board reps can provide some local patronage. Whether that is in any way good for the overall school district and particularly minority members thereof is extremely doubtful. It certainly isn't true here, and I doubt it's true in Pittsburgh.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:36 PM
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I admit (per 21) I have no idea what goes in at school board meetings. But I do see what goes on at city council meetings and it is certainly true there that having black members keeps a great number of problems from being completely ignored. I have no idea what is going on in Los Angeles that would lead you to expect having a single person making all the decisions would improve conditions both overall and for minorities, but you are just asserting this and it seems counterintuitive that removing minority decision makers from process would improve things for minority members of the community.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:51 PM
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Shorter 40: Actually, I'm quite fond of procedural liberalism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 1:57 PM
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Procedural liberalism has failed and is killing children's dreams.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 2:01 PM
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There was the time when the son of Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. was put in charge of the Pittsburgh school system and assigned the task of working with the RAND Corporation to decide which schools to close.

That's not even the worst of his sins.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 2:08 PM
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That was his other son.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 2:52 PM
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Yes. He's now running Antioch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 2:54 PM
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Didn't Antioch shut down?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 2:57 PM
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It's back.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 3:08 PM
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We're going to be having an interesting showdown on the whole local autonomy thing. The Leg is considering a bill that allows elementary school districts with over 1,000 students to build a high school, without permission of the school districts where those kids will be going to high school. 3 such districts exist in the state -- one near Helena, one near Billings, and one where I live. The bill passed in the senate, and may get to the gov, who will probably sign it. Meanwhile, the HS districts that would lose hundreds of students are flipping out.

I'm not sure we really ought to spend 40 million or whatever building a new high school would cost.

Ripford should move to Russia since he wants tsars so badly.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 3:27 PM
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45 was really unclear. The guy who ran Pittsburgh schools is now running Antioch, not the guy mentioned in 43.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 3:29 PM
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It seems to me that the political process should select for schmoozers. Because once you get elected, your job is basically to talk to people who have complaints or want favors or whatever, and talk other people into doing stuff or supporting your issues, etc. This requires unusual levels of certain kinds of social skills, which the current system selects for.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 4:24 PM
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Under Halfordismo, who would appoint the school board? We have an elected Board of Selectmen; would they do it? Would the Town Manager, who is hired by the BoS? In my experience the main issue with school boards is that they are usually captured, either by the teachers (as TRO suggests) or the school administration (the case in my town).

It's very hard to fool with town boundaries in New England, unlike in points west and south. UMC people flee minorities by using private schools or bidding up doghouses to +$1M in towns with good schools.

There is little doubt that an old boys (and girls) network has a huge influence, but there is always the possibility of an insurgency (one is going on in my town now, spread out over several elections). Even though the elections are non-partisan they are often fairly viciously fought.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 4:30 PM
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an elected Board of Selectmen

That's the problem right there. You should have an elected town czar who would then also be responsible for managing the schools. If he fucks up, he'll have a three year term. As Mel Gibson says in Payback, " Who makes the decisions? One man... you go high enough you always come to one man... who?" Mel meant that as a descriptive statement but it's also a normative one, we should have transparency by just electing one man [or woman, whatever].


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 4:39 PM
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That was me.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 4:39 PM
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But, Ripper, isn't this what voters do when they treat the presidential election as a referendum on the state of the economy? It seems to me that efforts to locate responsibility in a single person often go really wrong.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:09 PM
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But, Ripper, isn't this what voters do when they treat the presidential election as a referendum on the state of the economy? It seems to me that efforts to locate responsibility in a single person often go really wrong.

Well, yes, but that's mainly because in the system as it currently exists responsibility is in fact diffused across a large number of people and institutions, most of whom are largely unknown to most voters. What Ripper is saying is that it should instead be more concentrated, so that voters' assumption that a single individual is responsible for the way things are going more closely approximates reality.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:12 PM
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I like the Board of Selectman/Town Manager model, because the Board can fire the Manager, and doesn't have to wait 3 years to do it.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:12 PM
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My idea was to have a jury system for elections. Empanel 50 or 100 random people, have them be the audience for two or three town meetings or debates, let the candidates send them several rounds of written campaign materials, then have them vote. As long as you can prevent the worst sort of individual-vote-buying, I think it gives you more-or-less proportional representation, without putting everything in the hands of low-information voters and turnout machines.


Posted by: Scomber mix | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:19 PM
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Right, Teo, but what I'm trying to say is that it's easier to name a czar than it is to actually concentrate power. Systems are complex, the products of many actors with competing interests and an array of structural forces that can't easily be harnessed.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:25 PM
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My understanding of Halfordismo is that it's all about burning everything down and starting from scratch, so while those complexities are very really aspects of existing systems, in this context I think we're more or less assuming them away.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:29 PM
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Mme. Merle, how is it that you teach English, and yet you make so much sense to me?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:30 PM
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I've written and erased several comments about overlapping trust networks and trying to cover political issues and disputes and finding consensus, but I can't come up with anything coherent. Typical governance seems suboptimal in this regard (both too strictly hierarchical and comprising too large gaps).


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:31 PM
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Many forms of government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.


Posted by: Winston Churchill | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:36 PM
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Knecht, you flatter me! Eggplant, could you at least say something incoherent about all those things? I'd be interested to hear more.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:38 PM
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I thought I did. But I can definitely say more incoherent things.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:43 PM
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" It's very hard to fool with town boundaries in New England, unlike in points west and south. "

Legal framework, or granite boundary stones, or what?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 5:56 PM
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Legal framework, or granite boundary stones, or what?

Both! The characteristic feature of the political geography of New England is that towns are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. The unincorporated areas typical of the South and West are rare in New England outside of Maine, and nonexistent in Mass., Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Counties scarcely have legal meaning, in marked contrast to the South.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 6:35 PM
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While assuming the creation of a transparent organization in which responsibility is clearly concentrated in the czar and not diffused among individuals who collectively form a corporate body whose human face is the czar's, let's also assume the ladder or other suitable means of elevation from which the czar shall issue proclamations to the public, who, possessing perfect knowledge of this great educational organization, will celebrate or deride the czar as appropriate, according to the schedule laid out for elections.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 6:55 PM
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Max Weber thought all of this through 95 years ago, and came to the (correct) conclusion that there is no satisfactory answer.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 7:13 PM
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67: Also, everybody gets a pony. And a can opener.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 7:14 PM
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Against his left-liberal inclinations, Weber was tempted by the allure of Halfordismo (or "charismatic authority"), which he thought might be a salutary tonic for a body politic weakened by parliamentary paralysis and self-perpetuating bureaucracy. Weber himself was largely responsible for the inclusion in the Weimar constitution of a powerful plebiscitary presidency endowed with expansive emergency powers, which powers provided the legal basis for the Nazi seizure of power.

In conclusion: Tim "Ripper" Owens is Hitler.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 7:32 PM
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Clearly the "elect one man" thing is crazy. What you need is to elect one very powerful cohesive committee with a clear policy programme, which can be replaced by an alternative cohesive committee with a clear policy programme. (See, Cabinet government, or, the system that rules the world.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 7:39 PM
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Party-based committee government with clear and binding manifestos, coupled with a professional and obedient bureaucracy!

(It doesn't quite have the same ring to it as "lots" or "czars", does it?)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 7:44 PM
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If this were a dictatorship it would be a heck of a lot easier . . . as long as I'm the dictator.


Posted by: George W Bush | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 7:52 PM
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Philadelphia has already experimented with Tim's idea. Since the state takeover of the city's school district almost 15 years ago, it's been run by a 5-member commission.

It's been a more or less unmitigated disaster, although it's hard to disentangle the disastrousness of the appointment process from the disastrousness of the appointees. Three members are appointed by the governor; two by the mayor. You can imagine the fun that led to over the past four years when the Republican governor was barely on speaking terms with the Democratic mayor.

I don't think an elected school board is a panacea by any means, but it's hard to dispute that the appointed one has little to recommend it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 7:58 PM
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On the specific campaign thing: almost all competitive campaigns will end up with the candidate schmoozing and meeting voters. It's comparative advantage, basically. Doesn't matter what you do, what scale or electorate or funding rules, schmoozing is the best use of candidate time.

Do you get to do cool mail outs for Texan school board elections?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 8:03 PM
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I believe we are one of the few public school districts in NJ to have an appointed, not an elected, school board. My sense is that this is a system that used to work quite well; but in the past few years, there have been some issues/problems that seem to demand more of a public voice, and more direct accountability. I think the school board should be elected.

(But I believe judges, on the other hand, should be appointed, not elected. Electing judges has always struck me as an invitation to the worst sort of political grandstanding and demagoguery. "Tough on crime," for example, is just too easy a slogan.)


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 8:22 PM
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||

I would just like to uncontainably say without spoliery specificity that I am distressed about the current episode of a show certain people here watch. I just feel like it has maybe lost its way, this show.

|>


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03- 8-15 9:35 PM
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Shit. I didn't see it yet. If it lost its way hopefully it will recover quickly?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 5:24 AM
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"Cabinet government and a professional civil service". What was the question?

but seriously folks. if anyone was offering the program "abolish all the next steps/new public management/localism whatnot and go back to the administrative structure of say 1958" I'd vote for them.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 5:29 AM
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63: I'm trying to elaborate but with all my fits and starts I fear wearing out my delete key. If a large number of people are to have influence over their government, the political process should attempt to channel that influence in areas where they are most likely to add value. People are clearly horrible at making decisions about personalities they encounter through the media. Completely abysmal. They are at their best making judgements about people they know, and in subjects with which they have personal experience. They may not be very good, but this is where they are at their best. Designing a political system should ideally be done with the goal of making maximal use of these local judgements. A lot of proposals, like greatly expanding the number of representatives, may be attempts at improving this connectivity but are suboptimal in that they preserve a tree-like power structure, rather than having a richer, interconnected structure.
Obviously, very vague. I have a hazy vision of trying to assemble people's trusted groups into a small world network, and then mapping governing decisions onto that.
Like I said, incoherent.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 5:42 AM
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79. Damn straight!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 5:56 AM
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65. Many towns in MA (probably in NH, too) perform boundary surveys. MA law requires that towns check, every five years, the boundary markers of their town.

MA General Laws, Chapter 42, Section 2. The boundary markers of every town shall be located, the marks thereon renewed, and the year located marked upon the face thereof which bears the letter of the town locating its boundary, once every five years, by at least two of the selectmen of the town or by two substitutes designated by them in writing. The marking shall be made with a paint or other suitable marking material.

The proceedings shall be recorded with the town clerk and the board of selectmen of the town in writing signed under penalty of perjury setting forth which boundary marks were located, and those which were not located. A copy of such records shall also be sent, by registered letter, to the town clerk and the board of selectmen of any contiguous town.

Moving a marker is a criminal offense.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 5:56 AM
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Although it should be borne in mind that the administrative structure of 1958 was in part supported by a 95% supertax on marginal incomes over £5,000 p.a. (say, £100K at present values). I personally have no problem with that, mind you.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 6:10 AM
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There's a book I haven't read that argues that Oakland during the Dellums mayoralty actually got a fair amount of good stuff accomplished via the relatively unsexy community task forces, coalitions, forums, etc. I don't know if that's true - the author was directly involved - but were that the case, there seems a decent likelihood the media would fail to pick up on processes that lack powerful driving personalities.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:09 AM
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Boy am I learning a lot about local politics. Also, it's stunning how much we're courting people who do not (currently, at least) have kids in the district, who are the majority of voters.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:14 AM
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Justice Thomas' two concurring opinions today on separation of powers are both good reads, as these things go.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:22 AM
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http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-1080_f29g.pdf
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-1041_0861.pdf

Thomas' are the last opinions in both cases.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:27 AM
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Being open to the general electorate is mad; there's a case they should be (partially?) elected by the parents and teachers.

Couldn't disagree more. If they're going to be elected at all, it should be by everyone, same as all elections. Aside from the tax revenue angle, everyone in society has an inherent stake in how children are educated - maybe parents a little more than others, but not enough to bother with. Also, any kind of franchise distinction based on "interest" is a slippery slope, since it degrades the notion of community / polity. Should people only get to vote on tax policy if they pay taxes?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:29 AM
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It is very frustrating when a large number of voters basically want to defund the school district, though. Currently there is exactly one person, out of 7, on the school board who has kids. One. And he's vacating his seat.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:36 AM
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Also, it's stunning how much we're courting people who do not (currently, at least) have kids in the district, who are the majority of voters.

Boy howdy does that make a difference. Even in Posh Deep Blue Suburb, where the modal voter takes some personal pride in the quality of the local public schools, even if their children are grown or attending private schools, there is a vocal minority of voters who oppose spending on school construction because they have no personal stake in it.

Because it takes a 2/3 majority of the electorate to issue bonds, the "I've got mine fuck you" caucus has outsized influence. The electoral math is daunting: less than half the households have school age children, and 15% of those send their kids to private schools. The only way the pro-school faction wins these things is by mobilizing the parents through nominally neutral GOTV drives by the parent-teacher groups in a low turnout election.

One argument that sometimes gets through to the anti-tax types is that their property values will suffer if neighboring jurisdictions are perceived to have better schools.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:39 AM
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85: That does sound disheartening. Will you be attending most of the meetings with your candidate friend, or are you pitching in more at the start?


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:44 AM
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89: I wonder, though, is it a given that the people voting for the other six are childless? Given prevailing attitudes towards government, and also that people with kids are more likely to vote.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:44 AM
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less than half the households have school age children

Not to deny the overall problems, but this is exaggerating a bit, no? In that households with children will probably have more adults on average than households without.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:47 AM
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And a lot of the households without school-age children will have adult children, so more potential for connection at least.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:47 AM
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93: No way. If anything, he's understating the problem. Households with children have a higher likelihood of being in poverty, having a single-parent, and being younger adults. They often have the least time and energy to pay attention to such things.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 8:53 AM
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That's true. Regardless, monkeying with the franchise to mitigate in this one policy area the effects of an antigovernment/"I've got mine" ideology that hurts all policy broadly - seems pretty dangerous to me, and exploitable by the forces of reaction.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 9:04 AM
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Will you be attending most of the meetings with your candidate friend, or are you pitching in more at the start?

Campaigning pretty heavily, for starters. I might try to attend actual school board meetings, if there's a reason.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 9:06 AM
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Aren't there some political entities where there still is a property qualification to vote? Like some water districts or something something Mello-Roos something? I swear I'm not making this up.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 9:38 AM
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98: Yes, I too have heard of those. Not sure if/to what extent specific to CA.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 10:52 AM
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80.2: find a minimal set of people whose trusted networks partition the populace and make them the Cabinet.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 2:50 PM
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Finding a cover for the populace would yield an unworkable enormous cabinet. You need to create new social groups with the goal of bringing it down to a reasonable number.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 4:04 PM
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Dandelion-13.

Or, alaeady underway, choice of My Little Pony.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 9-15 4:12 PM
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So, speaking of local politics, I've been invited to a "Young Professional Meet and Greet" with one of the candidates in our mayoral election tomorrow. The Facebook invitation explicitly says it's not a fundraiser, but it certainly seems to be set up like a fundraiser. I think I should go, if only to be somewhat social and meet some other local Young Professionals, but I am of course ambivalent.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-11-15 12:17 AM
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I did end up going to the event, and it was a lot of fun. So, definitely the right choice.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-15 12:35 AM
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