Open forum: Vote No for Reapportionment on March 30 If…

Gerard Marlow Emanuel

Dear Source:

Vote No because the initiative is not perfect with every “i” dotted, every “t” crossed, and every unnecessary detail included, even though it was unanimously approved by the two top government attorneys in the territory and the Supervisor of Elections.

Vote No and ignore Voltaire’s warning that – “The perfect is the enemy of the good” — and the wisdom of our elders who told us that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Vote No if you want to make all of the blood shed by our ancestors on our behalf totally in vain, and you want to lose this golden opportunity by being on the wrong side of our rich history and refusing to pass the only successful initiative created by we the people to benefit we the people.

Vote No if you simply want to find fault with the initiative, and you do not want to concretely show our legislators who really is supposed to be in charge in a democratic society.

Vote No if you don’t want the benefits of the reapportionment initiative to occur in the next general election and scare our senators because even if you don’t, they know that playtime and payoff time will indeed be over.

Vote No if all you want to do is continue complaining about the lack of performance of our senators when you have the opportunity to return the power of accountability back to where it rightfully belongs – to the people.

Vote No if you want to make the VI the laughing stock of the world, and broadcast that we do not deserve the privilege of this important aspect of self-government, which is the only realistic measure that has been proven to make district senators accountable to at-large senators and to the voters. This is done by having at least one third of the senators be at-large senators who are elected by all voters, and will be motivated to check the unaccountability of district senators by their vote. Almost every other place has this protection that you would be voting against.

Vote No if you want a legislature, with only one at-large senator who has the totally impossible job of providing a check and a balance to 14 district senators who simply ignore him or her and can be as corrupt as seen in the next reason below simply because they do not have to answer to all of the voters.

Vote No if you want a legislature that promotes and facilitates corruption, subterfuge and no accountability to voters because 14 out of 15 senators are able to run wild and be only falsely accountable to voters in one district. For example, in the current legislature, a senator in one district can vote against a measure that his constituents don’t want but can also secretly get one of his district senators to abstain or walk off of the floor before the vote, and then get up to 7 senators in the other district to vote yes, because he/she will receive a kickback from a rich businessperson if the measure passes. However, the voters in his district cannot vote out the 7 senators who voted yes, and they are totally unaware that their own senator sold them out for 30 pieces of silver by lobbying the others for his or her financial gain. Every district senator can do this in the current legislative setup. It has already happened in previous legislatures on several occasions and will continue until we awaken and reapportion the legislature to have at least 1/3 at-large senators, as Congress in its wisdom intended, to avoid this culture of corruption.

Vote No if you want us to perpetuate the embarrassing distinction of being the only legislature in the United States that violates the constitutional requirement that every voting district, regardless of population size, must have at least one locally elected representative. This is what the US Congress intended for us and provided in both Organic Acts of 1936 and 1954, where St. John was always made a district with its own district senator, regardless of the size of its population. Moreover, St. John had its own locally elected representative from 1852 until 1966. Facts matter! History matters. Believe it or not!!

Vote No if you do not care that our legislature is the only place in the US where a unicameral body does not have the necessary checks and balances built into its structure to make it resemble a bicameral legislative body and protect the people from the dangers of unaccountable senators.

Vote No if you want to keep a legislature that totally violates the guarantee of a republican form of government as provided in Article IV, Section 4 of the US Constitution and as explained in the Federalist Papers by James Madison.

Vote No if you want to keep voting for 7 district senators, when none or very few of the persons you vote for ever get elected.

Vote No if you want to continue the scenario where most of the voters in your community try to remove a sitting senator who refused to look out for your interests, but he or she still gets elected because he/she is popular and got enough votes from other communities on your island. This is not the fault of the voters. It is because we do not have sufficient districts, and because of the outdated block voting or horse race method we now use, which all of the senators love.

Voters, the choice is yours. Knowledge is power only when it used properly. On March 30th, vote based on factual and accurate information. Vote yes for real accountability. Vote yes for reapportionment!

Gerard Emanuel, retired educator

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