Dane County Proving Good Government Still Possible
As of late it has been simply appalling for good government types in Wisconsin. There is no way not to read the newspapers and wonder if an alternate universe opened and Wisconsin slipped into darkness.
From the destruction of the Government Accountability Board, restructuring civil service employment, allowing for dark money to further infect our election system, and removing the ability of prosecutors to root out corruption with John Doe probes has alerted all that Republicans are undoing in just weeks the machinery designed to make Wisconsin a place of clean government. They are gleeful in their work, not grasping the damage that will follow.
So what harbor of good government does a concerned voter seek as a place where all if not lost? Is there someplace that still exists where there is a desire to strengthen the foundations of how we elect our leaders and ensure the needs of the citizenry are best heard?
Yes, there is. That place is Dane County.
I will be honest in telling my readers the column I read in Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal written by County Board Supervisor Jenni Dye brought a smile to my face. A much needed one after the past weeks of stories from the statehouse. I was reading outside in the sunshine–and that was certainly a reason to be content–but the words I read were a real tonic for my political soul.
There has long a discussion around the state about the need for an independent and non-partisan commission to draw our voting districts. That feeling was very much in evidence in Dane County when in 2012 voters overwhelmingly supported a referendum question asking if such a process should be used to draw voting maps at the state and congressional level.
As Dye noted “while the state has not taken action to adopt a nonpartisan process, Dane County can do so for our own districts”.
The redistricting committee has put together a list of possible criteria to get the conversation started, but we want to hear from you on what Dane County should or shouldn’t consider when drawing our voting maps.
After we consider your feedback, the committee will put together a draft of what independent redistricting might look like. On Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m., the committee will hold a public hearing on these draft ideas. The ideas and public feedback will eventually be turned into a draft ordinance amendment, which can be adopted by the full County Board early next year.
I absolutely agree that Dane County must step up and demonstrate we know how to walk the talk. Whereas the Republican leaders at the statehouse are fearful of even holding a hearing on the matter of a commission the local county board can work to actually implement a system that will bring a fair and even-handed drawing of boundaries.
Will it make a board that has more conservatives? I suspect it will.
As a liberal does that concern me? No, not at all. In fact just the opposite.
Before I am concerned about the merits of any policy or issue I am first concerned about the process that plays out which brings our elected officials to the table. If that can be done in a fair and transparent way I am most confident of the outcome being one that is representative of the people.
I encourage voters in Dane County to push their board member to support this idea and bring to Dane County what is lacking in the legislature.
That would be hope that government can still function in the way that best represents who we are as a people.