Letters 6.17.21

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There is no place in our government for the filibuster

Year after year, we see politicians in Congress make promises about what they can do for constituents like me. And year after year, the progress is usually less than we hoped for.

The solution is clear: It’s time to get rid of the filibuster — a Senate rule that allows a minority of senators to block any piece of legislation. Democrats have introduced some great bills that would help a vast majority of Americans. Right now, the Senate is deciding whether to pass the For the People Act, for instance, a big reform bill that addresses everything from making voting more accessible and streamlined to getting rid of corruption in government. But the fate of the For the People Act is uncertain as long as it can be filibustered by senators like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham.

And that’s only one bill. Imagine all the progress that’s being held up in Congress because the filibuster stands in the way.

For me, for my community, and for communities like mine all across America, I’m asking senators to do away with the filibuster once and for all.

Brenda Wise/Boulder

What is RCV Anyway?

A telephone poll in late May asked a wide range of questions about Boulder issues — homelessness, police funding, affordable housing, a library district, CU South, etc. — and included a question asking if Boulderites should use “ranked choice voting” (RCV) to elect their city council.

The Voting Methods Team of the League of Women Voters of Boulder County (LWVBC) is excited to have this question in the poll, although the question needs some clarification.

The question should clarify which of the many forms of RCV is being proposed. Consider these two good forms, used in different circumstances:

• For single-winner elections, instant-runoff voting (IRV) is one possibility. Broomfield is considering IRV to elect its city council — the same form that Boulder voters approved to elect our mayor beginning in 2023. In Broomfield, each council member is elected by voters living in a ward, rather than by the entire city’s electorate.

• For multi-winner elections, single transferable vote (STV) could be used. Boulder, in contrast to Broomfield, elects its city council members in multi-winner at-large elections.  From 1917 to 1947 Boulder conducted STV elections, resulting in a city council that proportionally reflected its electorate according to the important criteria of the day.  

The pollster did not know which form of RCV was the focus of the question. If we adopt the single-winner IRV form, then Boulder will have to create districts. If we adopt the multi-winner STV form, then Boulder will get proportional representation. Either way, citizens polled need more information so they can give a more informed opinion.

For more information on various forms of ranked voting that are labeled RCV (sometimes incorrectly), please read the article “What Is RCV Anyway?” printed in LWVBC’s May newsletter.

Voting Methods Team of the League of Women Voters of Boulder County

‘Fishing’ on Father’s Day

This Sunday is Father’s Day and while most of the country might be celebrating with baseball and burgers, I’m taking a decidedly different approach: I’m going “fishing.” But not the kind of fishing you’re thinking of.

Our planet’s oceans and waterways are being stripped through commercial fishing and even “recreational fishing” takes its toll on the environment, not to mention the trauma to marine life. At our current rate, we could see fishless oceans by 2048.

This is why, as an ethical vegan and father of two children, I have my own unique approach to “fishing.”

Armed with Google image search and fish identification guides, my kids and I go “fishing” in the same way a birder goes birding. We walk the shorelines and countless docks of New York’s Finger Lakes region and “catch” a glimpse of freshwater fish. This past weekend we “caught” a dozen carp, a few bass, several perch, and one very elusive catfish; all logged in our Fishing Journal.

As stewards of this planet, we have a unique opportunity to share these moments and nature with the next generation and prove there are more ethical ways to “capture” wildlife.

Eric C. Lindstrom/Farm Animal Rights Movement

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