Better Idea: Multiple-Member Districts

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 9, 2007

Dear Editor,
   I must agree that single-member districts are not the way we should be going but for different reasons ["Slicing the Map," News, Nov. 2]. Given only the choice between single-member districts and an all at-large council, the single-member districts would at least provide some sense of geographical representation and an opportunity for a diversity of opinions on the council. An all at-large council just means that every member is elected by the same constituency. It is the very definition of tyranny of the majority.
   However, there is no reason why we should have to choose between two very flawed ideas when a better alternative exists: multiple-member districts. By dividing the city into four to seven districts that would each elect three or four members to council by a proportional model, just about every Austinite could know that he or she really had a representative on the council. A broader spectrum of opinions in deliberations will mean a less "efficient" process, but it will also mean more innovative ideas and better decisions. And moving things through quickly shouldn’t be as important as making the best decisions for the citizens of Austin.
Scott Trimble
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