Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Representation and Accountability

Matt E. Glesias bases his case for direct mayoral control of NYC schools on the argument that a larger number of democratically elected offices, most of them representing very small local regions, leads to less accountability, because the average voter doesn't have the time or means to stay up to date on the actions of all of their elected representatives.

This seems obviously mistaken to me. Having fewer races on the ballot doesn't magically make voters more informed on the issues, and it reduces the ability of those who are informed to, say, endorse current zoning policy while voting to change course on the city's approach to reducing street crime.

It's nothing more than the fetishization of turnout, and it's undemocratic.

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