Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When do you change course?

At what point should one change course on a local political decision? Is it when there is significant public opposition despite majority support among elected officials?  Is it when the relatively popular incumbent who supported the decision lost and did much worse than expected in her own backyard?  Is it when voters reelect by wide margins the incumbent who voted against making that decision? Is it when a petition for overturning the decision garners 650 signatures in a week and half? Is it when a petition hits 10% of the population who voted in the last school board election (with admittedly very high turnout) -- which would only be about 200 more signatures than those obtained in a week and half? What about 15% or 20%? Is it when the remaining supporters of the decision lose in the next election cycle? Is it when the required bond fails the first time? Or does it take it failing twice to get the message?

When do you choose to move forward in the best way that you can without sacrificing the whole?

Many people have asked me similar questions about the issue in question, and I confess that I'm probably too much of a strategic voter to vote against my own self-interest. I think most people who show up at school board meetings are similar to me. I don't think that's true of most people. If most people disagree with an important substantive feature of a decision, they will let you know with their votes. So, I put the question to those responsible for making the decision: at what point would you be willing to change course? What are you willing to sacrifice?

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