To the Editor:
An important referendum is coming up on November 8 for voters in the city of Aiken. We have a choice of keeping our 4-2-1 system of city government in which every citizen can vote for the mayor, two at-large members, and one member from the district of the city in which they live—in other words, the majority of Aiken City Council. Our other choice is to change to electing six single member district representatives and a mayor --in other words, two members on the 7-member council.
How important is it for citizens to be able to elect a majority of City Council? Nothing much can be done without a majority vote and I believe this majority must be responsible to each citizen. Then we can have transparent and open government . During my eight years as an at-large member of Aiken City Council, I received calls from many people who did not want to depend on just one member and the mayor to voice their concerns. Since the council appoints all city commissions, voters have the chance to influence the majority of the membership of the Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and all other commissions who are important in determining public policy.
Aiken County Council has single member districts. I believe we would have known a lot more about the county office complex expenditures and location if a majority of that body had to depend on the voters throughout the county for reelection. The Augusta City Council has single member districts.
Voters should realize what we are giving up if we make this change in city government. Let us not be intimidated when we can see that this proposal will diminish the power of every voter. Vote NO on November 8.
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