Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Popular Is Not Always Right

Everyone wants the popular solution to Jefferson County's problems, but popular is not always right:

One of the biggest reasons that certain individuals-both on and off of the Jefferson County Commission-say that they want to look at adopting a county charter is not because of some burning desire for more autonomy from Nashville, but because those people have another agenda-they want to reduce the number of commissioners from 21 to 11 and term limit those who remain. That sounds like a grand idea, but upon closer examination we can see that citizens will lose representation if such a scheme were ever adopted. Reducing the number of commissioners would mean increasing the workload of those who remain, and it would give citizens less of an outlet to have their concerns heard, whereas our current system gives citizens two commissioners (and in the 3rd civil district, three) who might address their needs. Community representation within county government would be very significantly diminished, because a limited number of commissioners would not reflect the diversity of needs and views within our county. Put more simply, White Pine has different needs than Dandridge, which has different priorities from Strawberry Plains, New Market, or Jefferson City. Siphoning off the number of commissioners in government would give us a system that lends itself to a kind of hegemony that would be less reflective of the diversity of views in our county.

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