Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Elections, Fair or Unfair, Just or Unjust?

This is what went on last year at the March Elections. Are we doomed to repeat it?!

                   Stew Richland
“Every election is determined by the people who show up.” 
 Larry J. Sabato, Pendulum Swing
“Dictators are not in the business of allowing elections that could remove them from their thrones.” 
 Gene Sharp, From Dictatorship to Democracy

Tomorrow the UCO Election Committee will formulate a plan for the March 2016 election cycle.

I had attended the last meeting and the process  for this election was basically similar to what was followed two years age.  You have openings for UCO President, two V-Ps and at least 10 positions for the Executive Board.  According to what was discussed at this meeting, each candidate will be required to fill out a form in which they will summarize their educational experience, their past contributions to Century Village and a brief summary on how the candidate “could be of value.”(quote from the UCO Reporter – Voting for the Executive Board.)  In this same article, it was noted that a forum could be held so the candidate could “give information about themselves.”

Based on the idea that some candidates will be nominated from the floor at the December Delegates meeting, and then would have to submit their bios to be published in the January UCO Reporter  along with a photo.  So what can we conclude from this process.  First, with these time constraints most candidates will be marginalized because the system does not provide enough time for them to “toot their horn”  to the voting delegates.  Secondly, writing a short bio and adding a “why you should vote for me” blurb in twenty-five words or less seems to me that you selling a box of soap powder rather than a candidate.

Now let’s evaluate the idea of a candidates forum.  At the Election Committee the chairwomen said that this was done in a recent past election.  However, very few delegates showed to participate.

If they decide to resurrect a candidates forum, and they use the same criteria as in the past, it becomes a self-defeating exercise.  Lets assume that the committee is endowed with good intentions and really wants the forum to work,  then I have a few questions about this venue.

First, where are they going to hold the candidates forum?  Based on the policy that has been established by Dave Israel and WPRF that there will be no “political activity in the club house or by the pools, then where is this event going to be held?  However, if they bend the rules to allow this event to take place in the club house, then based on the fairness doctrine which is  an integral  part of American culture, we must also allow candidates that are running for other UCO positions, such as President or Vice-President the same equal access to the club house.  I would like to refer to the quote at beginning of this commentary. “Dictators are not in the business of allowing elections that could remove them from their thrones.” 

Presidential candidates being allowed to hold “meet and greet” in the club house would not be tolerated since it would represent a threat to Dave’s plans for re-election.  Being and optimist,  and for some unexplainable happenstance that the Forum and “meet and greet” are allowed,  this cannot be a one time event.  There will be to many candidates that want to present themselves to the Delegates.  In addition, provisions must be made for a question and answer plus rebuttal time in all of this.  

So a one shot forum will not work.  

Planning for multiple forums means that they have to be publicized.  Certainly channel 63 can be used.  Herein is a problem. Not to many people watch Channel 63.  What do we have left? Ah! the UCO Reporter.  Since this publication is distributed once a month and, based on the fact that many people do not read the paper,  only a very limited number of  voters will be apprised of the event.

There is still one more problem with this.  A forum venue will be conflicting with all those scheduled events  that are in place and with clubs that have reservations for many of the rooms.  One member of the Elections Committee suggest that we just run the forum and if it takes five hours so be it.  Can you imagine our senior citizens sitting for five hours at an event that does not serve food or at the least coffee and cake, and no bathroom breaks.

Now lets take the issue so dear to the hearts of right thinking, fair minded adults. A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.    A level playing field is a situation in which everyone has a fair and equal chance of succeeding.

For the last few months, at every UCO meeting , when this idea was addressed, it was attacked by the current administration as fiction.  You had to see the body language and facial expression exhibited by many of the UCO officials when this issue was addressed. It was like they just had a glass of sour milk or they were going to be audited by the IRS. Lets examine this issue. 

In the current issue of the UCO Reporter, in the President’s Report, Dave took up a great deal of space describing to the home owners the accomplishments of his administration. Now I refer you to page A3 of the Reporter – Editorial Policy – which states: “We promise to print both sides of an issue, to open dialogue to inform our readers…” Marvelous, if it were true. When was the last time you read an article in the Reporter that challenged Dave Israel?  In fact I will go further back and include Bob Marshall and his Reporter editors.
Strike one against the idea of a level playing field.  

Next pitch.  At the last Executive Board meeting,  Dave took some time to tell everyone about why term limit amendment should be defeated. He again took advantage of his captive audience to pontificate on the fact he alone has a complete understanding of UCO’s history and he is the only person that can explain it..  This was not a man tooting his own horn, he was using a TUBA.  Does Dave think he is the sole owner and sage of this Village collective history.  Again not a level playing field. 

Strike Two.

Now the fast ball.  Barbara Cornish said that people who are interested in running for office could use Association bulletin boards to spread the word.  She also remarked that she saw the poster I put up in her building.  Yes, she is right, However, and there is always a but in all this. I have put up 3 posters in her building. Why?  You guessed it! It was taken off!.  In fact a minimum of 25% of all posters I placed on bulletin boards were taken down. How do I know? I checked?  In fact, I actually looked in the paper recycling bin and there the poster was found.

Strike three!

Well voters, I think I have made my case about why elections being held in Century Village are not only unfair, geared to keep the current administration in power, and an insult to all those who believe in fair play and equal opportunity for everyone.

Multiple choice test:  Directions --- read the question carefully.  Select the letter of the answer that
best completes the statement.

1. Which word or phrase clearly describes how elections are held in Century Village?

(a) It’s a Boondoggle (b) Hocus Pocus (c) hypocrisy (d) all of the choices

2. The UCO Reporter will publish all bios and pictures of all candidates in the March 2016 edition. This edititon will be distributed the last week of February, (28 days in this month, so how you have less then a week to read the bios – great huh!

Based on the information given by the Reporter, select the letter of the statements below, that clearly express the opinions of the UCO Reporter.

(a) Less than a week is enough time to learn about candidtes running for office

(b) The Reporter is not biased

(c) The Reporter is fair and balanced when focusing on the March elections

(d) All of the above


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