I think Bellevue City Councilmember Claudia Balducci is on to something.
In case you missed it, councilmembers voted one of their own to be mayor and deputy mayor. The jobs are more ceremonial; the winners don’t get veto power over council decisions.
Two were nominated for mayor, Don Davidson and John Chelminiak. When it came time for the vote, Balducci first raised her hand for Chelminiak – and then for Davidson, who won. It made the apparent vote an 8-3 win for Davidson – from a vote by a seven-person council.
This was probably a case of a politician changing a vote. They do that. But I see something that could become a trend.
Both Davidson and Chelminiak are top-drawer councilmembers. Either would be a good leader for the city. I doubt if Balducci actually felt that Chelminiak (her first choice) was 100 percent the best and Davidson was zero. So, she did the logical thing: she split her vote.
When you think of it, it makes complete sense.
It’s rare when an issue appears before the council (or any legislative body) that is all good or all bad. There’s almost always valid points to be made to either side.
Take light rail in Bellevue.
The city council has looked a number of route options for the line that will come across the I-90 bridge, into downtown Bellevue, and then on to Microsoft and the Overlake area. Some council members like the route down Bellevue Way. Others like a route along the former BNSF railroad line.
Does that mean that there aren’t any redeeming values to either line? I doubt it. But, council members only get to vote for one.
Until now – thanks to Balducci.
Why not let council members slice and dice their vote? Perhaps a member thinks the Bellevue Way route has about 60 percent good going for it, with the railroad line garnering the other 40 percent. Another member might split the difference differently.
Certainly computers could handle the computation.
This also could work for partisan battles.
The state Legislature will be tussling with the budget this month and it’s likely the votes will break along partisan lines. But it’s doubtful that all Democrats think one way and all Republicans the other. Splitting their vote would save a legislator from saying he/she voted for the budget but didn’t like some aspect or another. A split vote would solve the dilemma.
How about for president?
Were you for Obama all the way, or McCain? Or did you see something in one of them that you wished the other had. Splitting your vote would send that message.
This system probably wouldn’t work for everything. Can you imagine having to tell your two kids that you like one of them more than the other by 70-30 split? Or how about telling your wife that she gets the majority vote when considered against her friends. Yikes!
Still, for politics and politicians, this could be the start of something good. I give it a 50-50 chance of being adopted.