[EM] California Dreamin', Take 2

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Fri Aug 27 18:54:09 PDT 2004

On Wed, 25 Aug 2004 23:17:59 -0400 James Green-Armytage wrote:

> Dear Ernie,
> 	My personal opinion is that bicameralism is unnecessarily bulky for a
> state legislature. So rather than re-conceptualizing the relationship
> between the two chambers, I'd rather just condense it into a single
> chamber. I think that people have enough trouble keeping track of what is
> happening in state government as it is, and I think that having two
> separate chambers makes this problem twice as bad. 

I like bicameral - and 49 of 50 states seem to agree.  Does our one odd 
state feel they are better or worse?

We can always get one body that wanders into extremes - seems like it is 
less likely that two will wander into the same extreme at the same time.

> 	I would like to elect the single chamber via STV-PR. For district
> magnitude, 7 or 9 on average sounds fine to me. 
> 	I don't think that it is too attractive to elect a legislative chamber
> via Condorcet's method, even if they are only deciding on legislation
> rather than writing it, because single-winner districts can lead to
> disproportionality, and encourage gerrymandering. For example... Say there
> are 100 seats in the chamber. The Democrats have a 100%-0% majority in 49
> of the districts, and the Republicans have a 51%-49% majority in the
> remaining 51 districts. The Democrats have 73.99% of the vote, the
> Republicans have 26.01% of the vote, but the Republicans have majority
> control over the chamber. It's an extreme example, but you get the general
> idea. Single-winner-district legislatures are usually bad news, I think.
> 	I know that you are very concerned with centrism, but I do think that a
> good STV-PR assembly would still hinge on the center. Some of the
> representatives would probably be rather distant from the center, but in
> order to pass legislation one would need to build a majority coalition
> which includes the center.
> 	If you still feel the need to inject more centrism into the system, I
> would probably just suggest a "parallel" system within one chamber (as in
> Russia, Japan, etc.) rather than creating separate chambers. That is,
> elect most of the seats (80%?) via STV-PR, and the remainder by Condorcet.
> Thus, you have a mostly-proportional assembly that is somewhat weighted
> towards the center. I'm not personally convinced that this would be
> preferable to just a straight STV-PR legislature, but I would prefer it to
> a bicameral system. I think that Rob Loring is an advocate of STV-PR /
> Condorcet parallel assemblies.
> http://accuratedemocracy.com/
>>Despite Arnold's best efforts (which, frankly, are better than anyone 
>>else has done here for decades) 
> 	Feel free to elaborate on these (onlist or offlist, as you prefer).
>>The optimal district magnitude 
>>for PR is usually considered around seven (7), 
> 	Considered by whom?
>>giving a 90% confidence 
>>that a voter would get a candidate they agree with.  
> 	90% chance that they will get their first choice, or what? Wouldn't that
> just depend on the ratio between candidates and seats?
>>In case of a 
>>cycle, the whole Smith set would go to the governor and he/she could 
>>pick one.

NO!!!  The governor has plenty of muscle via ability to veto.  Don't let 
him near deciding who gets elected.

> 	Why not use the iterative pairwise procedure which I proposed for small
> group voting, at
> http://fc.antioch.edu/~jarmyta@antioch-college.edu/voting_methods/iterative.htm
> 	Also, in a small group, the Smith set (or minimal dominant set) may
> differ from the Schwartz set (union of minimal undominated sets). For an
> explanation of the difference between these sets, see
> http://fc.antioch.edu/~jarmyta@antioch-college.edu/voting_methods/survey.htm#smith
> http://fc.antioch.edu/~jarmyta@antioch-college.edu/voting_methods/survey.htm#schwartz
> my best,
> James
As to gerrymandering:

New York State Constitution says:
      Counties with too few people to deserve two Assembly members shall 
each have one.
      Other counties shall each have as many members as their population 
earns, with districting DONE BY THE COUNTY.

In the 1960s the one-man-one-vote promoters went to the Supreme Court, 
claiming inequality.  Decision demanded equality.

Assembly figured out how to to use gerrymandering for equality at what I 
call close to one-man-zero-votes (Assembly gerrymanders whole state, 
ensuring continued Democratic ownership - Senate tolerates this since 
Assembly tolerates similar Republican ownership of the Senate).  Among the 
features of this kind of gerrymandering is ability to ease reelection of 
those favored, and to be rid of those not favored.

Gerrymandering is apparently too comfortable for them to consider amending 
the constitution to something more reasonable in forty years.
  davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
            Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                  If you want peace, work for justice.

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