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Never understood all the fuss over Presidential Elections vs Municipal Elections

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by London'sBurning, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    I think it's widely known already that voter turnout in general is pretty bad. But it's even worse in local municipal elections.

    I think too many people have it in their head that voting during the presidential election is what will impact their day to day lives the most and it's not. It's municipal elections that affect your day to day, yet municipal elections have the lowest voter turnout of any election type among city, state and national elections. So while I think Trump or Hillary will have an impact on my life in that they'll have a big say in where our national budget will focus it's resources on (immigration reform, defense spending, etc), that's about it in terms of impact outside of being the diplomatic face of the United States. Choosing a Supreme Court Justice is also another decision that could impact my day to day life as well so adding that too.

    That said, they don't decide whether City Council members would rather pour their resources into repairing roads over education or education over city programs meant to aid the homeless. Or giving law enforcement a bigger budget to recruit more EMS, firefighters and police officers to ensure greater safety for its citizens. It's our local elected officials that govern all that and yet a lot of people don't hold them accountable while clamoring about the inefficiency of government entities. It leaves me scratching my head over it.

    If you leave a civil servant alone to their own devices and don't hold them accountable for where they decide to allocate resources, then chances are highly likely they're going to take a self serving interest. However if you're a part of a strong local community that actually votes and collaborates together, and makes sure that money is allocated where elected officials say it's going to go or they lose your vote is democracy at work. But it involves citizens actually participating in the legislation process by holding these civil servants accountable.

    I'll give an example since I actually did a presentation on this for one of my summer classes.

    There's a non-partisan, non-profit organization in Austin called Austin Interfaith. It's members make up over 40 different congregations with varying belief systems (secular institutions included), schools and unions within Austin. These members who are active participants in their local community will ask people they know what hardships or difficulties are they facing in their life. If they hear a common trend among people within their local community and other members hear a common trend then at the next meeting they'll discuss it and see if there's a way to remedy it.

    For example, there was a poor neighborhood in Austin called Hornsby Bend who hadn't had an efficient working water irrigation system for years. A member of Austin Interfaith (www.AustinInterfaith.org) overheard this, took it to other members and they collectively marched to Precinct 3 office at County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty's work and approached him to address this issue. After some initial reluctance he ensured that neighborhood would receive a basic necessity towards having a good quality of life in running water. Without citizen intervention on this matter though, that neighborhood would have continued to suffer and these are people within your local Austin community under these living conditions.

    Article on this resolved issue: http://archive.austindiocese.org/newsletter_article_view.php?id=1984

    Likewise back in 1996 when Austin approached Samsung and wanted them to build a manufacturing plant in Austin. Samsung in turn wanted the city of Austin to cover roughly 12 million dollars in tax abatements over 5 years for locating there which was agreed under the condition that roughly 550 jobs would be created for local Austinites. Jobs were indeed created but at a meager pay of $7.50/hr. Horse s-hit pay. Austin Interfaith didn't like the inefficient use of their tax dollars and came up with a different alternative to job creation by forming Capital IDEA who sponsors me along with roughly 900 other applicants annually.

    Source: http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/1998-03-20/523054/

    Over a 10 year analysis conducted by the Ray Marshall Center from the University of Texas, every tax dollar invested into Capital IDEA (http://www.CapitalIDEA.org) would yield $1.65 rate of return, or roughly 9%. That's a better return investment than most IRA plans. It also raises people out of poverty within Austin, fills job positions in fields of work where there's dire need of qualified applicants, and indirectly lowers the need for abortions and criminal activity. If you ever hear how inefficient government is, it's not always the case like with this program.


    Source(s): http://waysandmeans.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/20160301HR-Testimony-King.pdf

    http://www.capitalidea.org/downloads/AR2015.pdf

    A poor single pregnant woman that's given the opportunity to improve their education and receive child care to actually attend classes is more likely to actually keep the pregnancy than someone without such an opportunity. Statistically a poor person is far more likely to commit a crime (usually out of their own ideas of necessity) than someone who is able to afford the basic tenants of a good quality of life.

    More than that though, it breaks a cycle of poverty among many poor people who come from multi-generational backgrounds that never went to college. These sponsors who complete their education and have children of their own, now have the knowledge and resources of how to get through school and who to contact for support. They bestow that knowledge on their children while being able to afford them the opportunity to go to school and get a good paying job, breaking a cycle of poverty and dependence on government aid like Welfare, Food stamps and Medicaid.

    If you want to end poverty, lower crime, lower abortion and lower the number of dependents on welfare and other government aid, you have to invest in those people and teach them how to get through a college climate or to work in construction trades. But none of that would have happened without concerned citizens within Austin looking to make a noticeable change within their community.

    It's not enough to march at the Capitol and do some #Occupy or #TeaParty stuff and clamor on about the problems within government. You actually have to research and offer a solution while addressing it. Otherwise all it'll do is get a little media attention then eventually die out like it often times does.

    I really think if you're truly pissed off about how horrible government is, you as a citizen need to take responsibility for some of that blame for not holding your own elected officials accountable. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump probably don't know you on a personal level. If you make your voice known though, your State Rep, mayor, county commissioner, city council members will though. It's not enough to just bitch about change or place your trust or lack there of on who will become President. You have to be that change and you also have to come up with a damn good plan with support from your own local community to enact it. Otherwise, yea government officials will continue to serve their own interests without concern for its citizens.

    The fact that even fewer people vote on the municipal scale makes your singular vote matter even more than on a national scale. Collect other active voters within your local community and those local officials will listen to your concerns. Once again though, if you're pissed off over something affecting your day to day life, you have to be that change and crying over Hillary or Trump will not ever fix it. My $.02.
     
  2. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

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    That is because many have no idea who the people running for local offices are, how do you vote for someone if you do not even know their name.
     
  3. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    I agree ignorance has a large part to do with it but again it's on you to research it or read/listen/watch news that's more focused on local media than national.
     
  4. DudeWah

    DudeWah Member

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    Or, you could be like most people who vote and not do any of that yet vote anyway.
     
  5. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-lYiga6dcjc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Is there a study done on people who vote and how much research they do? I've no doubt there are people who vote blindly with little research done but I'd like to think it's actually the majority of voters who are at least somewhat informed.
     
  6. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Local and county governments do a pretty good job of keeping things consistent year in and year out, if something big impacts you there's probably a referendum or just a bunch of crowded council meetings until it's resolved; otherwise I think the lack of a currency vehicle or for debt is a natural deterrent to overspending. If local papers or news stations covered local politics thoroughly enough to inform the viewership, they'd go bankrupt.
     
  7. DudeWah

    DudeWah Member

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    what is "somewhat informed" to you?
     
  8. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    I remember watching the trailers for that, Hangin' with the Homeboys, Strictly Business, Mo-Money, all those other god awful pre-Friday black comedies.
     
  9. nolimitnp

    nolimitnp Contributing Member

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    While I agree people should pay WAY more attention to their local and state elections, the President still holds the most power. Or, well, he would if we would overturn Citizen's United and take money out of politics.
     
  10. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    Understanding of basic issues and what each candidate is for and opposed. I'm sure you could find a Jimmy Kimmell video of uninformed voters to rebuke that statement but I still stand by it that the majority of voters at least have a basic understanding of the issues.

    They may be for having less government regulations but may not know how their candidate plans to have less regulations or if his/her plan is even feasibly possible. Still they may like the cut of their chosen candidate's jib and he may speak their language. That's an example of a somewhat informed voter IMO. A well meaning citizen who has a concern for the state of their country/state/city/county and wants to see an improvement of some sort, but may not necessarily have a plan on how to improve whatever it is they're concerned over. Plenty of people out there like that. Plenty of people on this BBS like that.
     
  11. Haymitch

    Haymitch Contributing Member

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    People should also drink and smoke less, brush / floss regularly, and wear a new pair of underwear every day. But that's not happening.

    I don't think anyone argues that local elections shouldn't be more important to voters, but ain't nothing gonna change.
     
  12. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    That's the thing though. Doesn't matter if it causes change from other citizens. It matters if you are part of that change, because despite being a singular voter (where your vote counts a lot more on a municipal level), you can make a significant impact on your day to day life and those around your community by remaining informed and being an active participant of your own local community. Far more than even volunteering to support your favorite presidential candidate. And it's truly non-partisan work for a good cause improving your community.
     
  13. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    People getting involved in municipal politics resulted in referendum defeats of red light cameras and the equal rights ordinance. I think we're better off when people allow the local oligarchs to run things and instead focus all their energy on their utterly ineffectual presidential vote.
     
  14. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Do you have to research the Presidential Elections an take it upon yourself to find them?
    No. They are shove in your face. Municipal elections don't get half the coverage IN THEIR OWN CITIES.

    Then there is the answer to your question.
    It is nothing more than a result of effective Advertising

    Rocket River
     
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