RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Really enjoyed being part of the conversation. TOL is a critical public forum where real ideas are discussed in a real way. Kudos.
As for Stu's idea, we mentioned some of the pros: shake things up, potentially grant greater access for constituents to their representatives, and less travel time for legislators and potentially for advocates.
Many of the cons were mentioned: Might not grant greater access if there weren't public access to where the legislator was; there would still be barriers of time and information; face-to-face interaction is important and valuable; and a given advocate would have a harder time reaching multiple legislators spread out across the State.
In addition to those that I heard, I wanted to mention a few for which there wasn't time: (1) legislators learn important information from their interactions with other legislators. There are a lot of bills. Information proxies and trusted voices play a pivotal role. There is a fair argument about the misuse and overuse of proxy-based decision making, but I've learned a lot from colleagues, and typically that is because I would see them and ask for advice. (2) Being in the capitol allows legislators -- even forces them -- to be exposed to different viewpoints beyond those they might here from their own districts. The cross-pollination that happens in the building has some costs, but it has many benefits. )
A traditionalist might lament the loss of the reverence generated by ceremony. I am more concerned about the degree of access and the quality of thinking and decisionmaking. My own guess is that Thomas Jefferson would tell us not to stand on ceremony or tradition unless that tradition actually helps us yield outcomes.
In any event, although I've got some real questions on the merits of the idea, I think the desire to reconsider how we make public decisions is critical. We've had roughly the same system for centuries...we might be able to stand some updating.
So cheers to Stu for creativity and courage.
posted 3 years, 7 months ago
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