True Ward takes big money out of elections

No surprise that Tom Hannah opposes the True Ward election system (“Ward system would do Eureka ill”, Times-Standard, Aug. 7, Page A5). He was a chief architect of the present all at-large council and a foremost spokesman for the economic and social elite who want to run Eureka.

His opinion is incompatible with 21st century representative government. True Ward means that only voters of a ward decide who will represent them. With the present all at-large system, the economic, ethnic and cultural interests of a neighborhood can be overridden by voters from elsewhere. It has happened. A candidate may technically live in a ward but not represent it well.

True Ward would take big money out of council elections. Candidates running in a single ward only need enough money to print flyers and distribute them door-to-door in a now walkable district. TV and newspaper ads, slick mailers, and massive lawn-sign distribution would be unnecessary. So people of any economic means could seek office, and need not be beholden to big money special interests seeking to buy voices on the council.

True Ward is also fiscally prudent. California cities retaining all at-large systems have been sued for discrimination against minorities, costing cities lots of money. Eureka’s minority population is growing. Inevitable suits waste our tax money defending an undemocratic system.

True Ward, on the ballot this November, gives neighborhoods a true voice.

Pam Service, Eureka

(Letter to the Editor: Times Standard August 10, 2016 – posted with permission of the author)

A Village of our Own

An exciting idea has reached Humboldt County and it is called The Village. If a small, quaint town comes to mind, it is not that kind of Village. The story of this Village began when AARP did a survey a few years ago which asked Seniors over 50 years of age what they would want in an assisted living home or a nursing home. To their surprise 86% of the surveys came back with comments stating that they did not want to live in either one.  What they did want was to remain in their own homes as they grew older and to be able to get the help they needed in order to remain there happily and healthy. The kinds of help most thought they would need was mostly for doing small things like changing a light bulb or raking their yard in the fall. Others needed transportation to go to the doctor and some wanted to know someone would check on them after an earthquake or other disorienting event. (more)

WEP and GPO Rob Retirees of Earned Benefits

A shocking surprise awaits many Americans when they retire. There are two laws which may rob them of half or more of their Social Security benefits. The Government Pension Offset (GPO) was passed by Congress in 1977 after much publicity about the few retirees who were receiving large pensions and large survivor benefits because they had held high paying jobs as public agency administrators. But the GPO causes all public workers whose spouses were vested in Social Security to lose an amount equal to 2/3 of their pension, which is deducted from the Social Security survivor benefit they expected to receive. For many widowed retirees, what remains is a very small Social Security benefit or none at all.

Contact Diana Berliner if you have questions about GPP or WEP or about contacting your representatives. (more)

Understanding Prop 40

Proposition 40 is actually a referendum, which means its purpose is to get rid of something. In this case, what the originators want to get rid of are the maps that were developed by the redistricting commission. The originators of prop 40 are worried that some of the legislators they like won’t be elected with the new configuration. (more)