Thursday, December 27, 2018

Change the rules if you don't like the results

As Royceann Porter takes her seat on the Board of Supervisors, I see the local Republicans (or at least the losing candidate in last week's election) are talking about supervisor districts again. Which is the classic 21st century Republican M.O.: If you don't like the results, change the rules. But districts would not get the outcome they want.

The apparent goal is an all-rural "doughnut" district surrounding the urban area, like Linn County had until this election. The math for that does not work in Johnson County. I showed the math six years ago.

Supervisor districts in Johnson County will NOT get you a farmer from Solon, a farmer from Oxford, a farmer from Sharon Center, a farmer from Lone Tree, and a token liberal from The City. Supervisor districts will get you three supervisors from Iowa City, one from Coralville, one from North Liberty, and shut out the rurals completely.

The best option for rural voters is the present at large system where they have influence over all five seats. And it's disproportionate influence, since they turn out at a higher percentage rate than the in-town folks.

But the rural voters can't do it alone. Even in a district system, all five seats would be dominated by urban voters. If they want a supervisor who "represents the rural community" they need a candidate who ALSO appeals to urban voters - like Sally Stutsman did in winning five terms.

A candidate with a philosophy that the Board should only plow and grade roads and rubber-stamp re-zonings will NOT appeal to urban voters.

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