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Letter to the Editor: We will lose representation if proposed change passes, vote no on May 9

Dear editor,

Is the number 6 less than 7 (6<7?) or is the number 6 greater than 7 (6>7?)? The Mayor and Council have attacked the mayor-council form of government as outdated and inadequate to handle a growing Madison City. Nothing could be further from the truth.

They have said that Madison citizens would benefit from the continuity of Council-City Manager government. Their “continuity” will be less responsive to the will of the people and the citizens will not be able to vote the city manager out of office. Less continuity and turnover of city managers are possible if new council decides to replace the city manager every four years. And changing a city manager who is under contract could prove to be very expensive.

City managers are not elected by the voters and they are not accountable to We The People. They are not superheroes for transformation or growth. Are the current mayor and council members not doing their job and making proper decisions for our citizens? If not, why should we trust them to hire a city manager? If they are, why do we need a city manager? Tell them to do their jobs.

They want us to believe that we are gaining by eliminating one council district. Tell them that 6 is not a higher number than 7. Reducing council districts will most adversely impact the representation of modest and low-income areas and minorities. When my wife and I moved here 23 years ago the city population was around 20,000 and the council districts were 7. Now we are close to 60,000. Vote No on May 9th to less representation. For achieving both continuity and effective representation, we should increase the number of council districts above 7 and stagger their election. In fact, we should have term limits for mayor and council members – not more than two terms.

Special interest groups say that Madison citizens are not capable of electing Mayors who have the vision and the skill set. It’s funny they say that, because the same groups continue to donate and prop up the council members and mayor.

Madison Forward PAC campaigned for property tax increase in 2019 and a co-founder then is a council member now from my district 2. This PAC is spending tons of money in their campaign of confusion and misinformation to get YES votes for the city manager.

Our city has a problematic governance culture, which is condescending, insensitive, insulting, disrespectful, and demeaning to the residents. There is also a toxic culture of voice and opinion suppression, ongoing rejection of any and all questions and or criticisms, and even intimidation. Let’s fix that. We should protect our democracy, not promote autocracy. They are laying the path to dictatorship and oligarchy at our city level. Protect our city. Protect your vote and your voice. Vote NO on Tuesday, May 9th.

Hanu Karlapalem

2016 Mayoral Candidate

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