Question: How did Don Bankhead and Dick Jones get to serve on the Fullerton City Council for a combined 40 plus years?
Answer: The election rules greatly favors the incumbents.
Now, of course no matter what the election rules are, the incumbent has a natural built-in advantage. They have name recognition and a record they can boast about, no matter how weak it may be in reality. They also have made alliances with powerful people in the community, which they can easily use to their advantage. However, in Fullerton that is only the beginning of the advantage these incumbents have with the current election system in Fullerton.
You see, in Fullerton, there is no limit on the number of challengers who can run for a council seat. Usually it takes only 18 to 20% of the total votes to win the election. There are no runoffs to get to a majority like there are in many cities. Fullerton’s excuse is that having another runoff election is expensive. However, it is not nearly as expensive as voting for 6% raises for the police, 9% raises over 2 years for the fireman and 90% pensions and free retiree medical for both groups. But the establishment elites always bring up money when they are against something and ignore the huge costs when it comes to voting for outsized public union employee raises and benefits. This is how the politicians who support the special interests cling to power, election after election, after election.
Demand that the city change the rules to make our election process fairer. Demand that they institute a requirement that to win a council seat, the candidate must reach a majority, i.e. 50% plus one.
You may recall, that the last time we had this majority rules system was in the 2012 Recall Election. The question was the following: Do you want to recall Council members Bankhead, Jones and McKinley? When approximately 65% of the voters said they wanted to recall them, new council members were then elected in their place. Remember, I reminded you that in a normal election cycle it takes only 18 to 20% of the vote to get elected to council. In the recall vote, double that amount or approximately 35% voted to keep them, yet with this fairer system they were defeated almost 2 to 1.
This reform will do much more for a fair election process than the currently considered District-wide election format. All the problems with the current system I have outlined will not be dealt with, with a District-wide election format.
Question you might ask: Why wouldn’t the council install this fairer system and why did they not do this years if not decades ago?
Answer: It would mean that the process would become fairer and reduce at least partly their built-in incumbent advantages. And how many politicians do you know who are willing to make it easier for a challenger to beat them and have to relinquish their power?
Now if all the council members want to show that they are fair and care about reform they would jump at this chance to make our election process, fairer and more democratic. The final question is will they do the right thing?
I report, you decide.