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The absence of reason

POSTED July 30, 2010 10:45 p.m.
 Say, what!?!?!!  Should Turlock say “Yea” or “Nay” to those council members who just voted to deny the right of their fellow members to abstain from a vote?  I suppose it depends on how one views decision making.  Let’s look at decision making at a personal level.  In every election, I am faced with choices between minor candidates whose character I have no way of knowing. Likewise, I have to decide to vote on initiatives, like the one on the housing of chickens, on which I will never have the expertise to be able to make a responsible decision.  In other cases, I simply see that both sides of an issue have substantial merit. In such cases, my powers of reason tell me to abstain, to let those who know more about the candidate, or who know more about the issue decide.  If I were forced to vote arbitrarily, my vote would be watering down the votes of those who know more than I do.Why doesn’t the process work the same with the City Council? Cannot a member abstain from voting on an issue in which he or she can see both sides? The three council members who voted to eliminate votes of abstention are going against the wisdom of tradition that we see throughout our democracy. If one wants the council to resemble a sporting event, with always a clear winner and a clear loser, one would support council members Ted Howze, Kurt Spycher, and Amy Bublak in their bid to promote black and white thinking.  However, running a city is not a game, and the issues to be decided are often not simple. The powers of reason should be allowed to work freely in trying to solve the difficult problems that occur in running a city. If one believes that a city should be run judiciously, one might consider voting out those members who want to emotionalize the political process at the expense of reason.     — Randy Huth
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