by Jim Nintzel
State Republicans cheered a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down the city council election system in Tucson. In reality, however, the decision reflected the sort of judicial activism GOP orthodoxy decries.More from Robb:
Now, there is a great question in municipal governance about how city councils should be elected. Should they be elected by district, ensuring diverse geographical representation and greater attention to local concerns? Or should they be elected citywide, to ensure that parochial interests don’t overwhelm what’s best for the city as a whole?
Some cities try to create a blend, electing some city council members by district and some at-large. And some use a so-called hybrid system such as Tucson’s, with nomination by district and election at-large. That, theoretically, results in all members of the council being attentive to both local and citywide concerns.
Political scientists can debate all day about which is best in what circumstances. But the notion that a hybrid system is per se unconstitutional, and cities can’t even consider using it, would strike the framers of the 14th Amendment as a perversion of their handiwork.