6.4.5 Town Meeting — We Continue…

Day 7, 2PM

It seemed a shame not to actually resume the meeting out-of-doors, given the lovely, warm weather, so it was with reluctance that I entered the hall and took my place behind the long table in front. The colonists were still streaming in, many talking animatedly with each other, hands waving in expressive motions in sympathy with whatever the heated discussions were about.

Finally, when it seemed that everyone was there, I checked my wristpad, setting it back to record and banged the gavel.

“The meeting will come to order,” I said, “Quiet please.”

I gave everyone another minute or two to settle down and then said, “So, my thanks to Hanna and Company for the fine lunch and now we shall get back to business. Before we move on to Article 5, regarding monetary matters, is there any old business?”

Andrew Stuart stood…

21 Responses to “6.4.5 Town Meeting — We Continue…”

  1. Andrew Stuart Says:

    Mr. Moderator, I thank you.

    I rise to present to you all a radical –at this point– proposal! As you have all heard, I am against a Command presence in the Government of Liberty. I am not however against the presence of a Command influence in ALCHIBAH! For what is Alchibah? It is going to be the mix of two cultures; those of us who live on the planet and those who dwell in space. The Day-to-Day rules and Regulations of those disparate environments require a different type of governance!

    For example who of us on the ground wishes to deal with a regulation requiring us to close doors in our homes? Yet, in Space if that door is an airtight hatch; failure to close it is a direct safety threat to the entire community.

    On little things like that and a thousand more is built the difference between two cultures!

    Yet, we share the same dreams! The right to live and prosper without the overreaching interference of a UNWG!

    For those of you who do not understand from whence I come consider this. Mariana and I cannot have children thanks to the UNWG! I work for only one thing; the survival of what I call Clan Alchibah! Whatever it takes, I will do!

    On that note I propose a Federal Council of 7 persons. Five from Liberty, and 2 from Mayflower. My apologies to Mayflower, there are in fact more of us than you.

    For Liberty I propose a council of 5, chosen by secret ballot. How Mayflower chooses their council is their business.

    Some of the items discussed here this day will be Federation matters, some will be Liberty matters. Sorry Captain, but, on Liberty matters you and yours have no say. Just as we have no say on Mayflower matters.

    Capt. Travis, do you have any input?

  2. Captain Travis Says:

    Well now, Mr. Stuart, I think you’re on to something. We on the Mayflower have no intention of telling you all, here in Liberty, how to run your colony. That would not only be wrong, but presumptuous as well. All we on the ship ask is that at the “federal level” you take our needs and concerns into consideration.

    During the lunch break I communicated with the “spacers” as some have called us, everything that transpired here during the morning session and all those dwelling on the Mayflower — which, by the way, we’ve ourselves been referring to as The Rock, have been following closely and all are in agreement that we only want to be of assistance to you here on planetside.

    As for our own “council,” Mr. Stuart, the two members will be comprised of myself, and on a rotation basis, one of the other crew members. All crew members will be pressed into service for this important duty. I am a commander but not a dictator! We will not infringe on your colony rules and laws and all that and all that we ask is that you all do not infringe upon the rules and regulations of The Rock.

    I relinquish the floor, now, for discussion from others. Thank you, Mr. Stuart and Historian.

    In consequence of that, Mr. Stuart, I support your measure completely.

  3. The Historian Says:

    Thank you, Mr. Stuart and Captain Travis.

    So — if I might distill this proposition — we here in Liberty will, as agreed upon, have a Town Council of five members of the planetside community. We will hold our meetings, try to coordinate and manage ourselves. If and when our Town Council discusses something that might concern our orbiting friends, they will send two voting spokespersons here to represent the interests of, er, The Rock.

    Is this agreeable to all whom are present here? As they say at some weddings, ‘Speak now or forever hold your piece.’

  4. Rajnar Singe Says:

    This begins to seem overly complicated. Before I could vote for this proposal I would need to know the exact relationship between the Federal Council and our Town Council. I would at first propose at a minimum that the Town council or any other new Entity on the planet with a representative on the Federal Board be able to direct it’s members vote.

    And of course we need to set up the rules on Alchibah on how members of the Federal council get elected. And more exactly what areas of our interaction that group intends to set the rules for. Could I as a free individual deal directly with the Mayflower or would I have to go through some layer of planetary bureaucracy?

  5. Frank Turner Says:

    I can see the need as Andy points out for different rules on the planet and in space. But why can’t each group deal with all the other independent groups on a one to one basis? What is the difference between the Federal Council and the UNWG? And what would keep it from turning into a UNWG in the future?

  6. The Historian Says:

    As I understand it, and I’m not positive about this, later today we here in the colony will nominate and then vote for our five council members. Our council will act as guidance to all of us. On rare occasions, when our business involves those of the space colony, they can send two representatives down to sit in on and have voting rights on our council. So… There is our Town Council, with five of us. Once in a while we will need to address issues in common with ourselves and the Mayflower. When that happens, our Town Council becomes a “Federal Council” and besides the five of us, we will be joined by two members of the Mayflower. Otherwise, we — Liberty and the Mayflower — will administer ourselves as we both, individually, see fit.

    Further discussion?

  7. Andrew Stuart Says:

    Histy, If I may there have been several excellent points raised.

    The first is how do we prevent the Federal Council from becoming a new UNWG. We do that by limiting the powers is has. For example I believe that it should be bedrock that the Council can NEVER vote itself a power! There will be no expansion of power by interpretation. Any alteration of what the Federal Council can or cannot do must come to a vote of the people.

    What is it’s job or function. Literally to be a common means for two different communities to peacefully interact and co-operate. No doubt there are individuals on Mayflower would love to enter into private contracts for goods and commodities. At least I hope so!

    But how shall we handle things like fuel for the planetary rescue vessel. No one person is going to contract for that.

    In the true Libertarian heaven of L. Niel Smith, there would be no need for Government but, that is not Alchibah!

  8. The Historian Says:

    So, if I understand correctly, the Federal Council is simply the Liberty Council and the Mayflower Council COMBINED. Is this correct?

  9. Connor Benjamin Says:

    Histy, I’ve got a couple more questions, if I may. First, when we started talking about this Council we had intended it to be temporary. Is that still the intention, and is it the intention for the Federal Council set-up to be temporary as well? Obviously if we decide that this system works well we can vote to continue it, but I do think that it should still be limited to a 200 day mandate before its renewal comes to a vote.

    Second, does it make sense to have two voting members from Mayflower? Right now the population on board is nine or ten people, correct? So the people of Liberty would have five representatives on the Federal Council for approximately 150 people while Mayflower would have two for just ten? That doesn’t sound terribly democratic to me. I would like to propose that the Federal Council should be made up of the five Town Council members, one member from Mayflower and one other member from Liberty.

    I would also like to resubmit my proposal for colonist oversight, for both the Town and Federal Councils - 20% on a petition to bring an override vote, 50%+1 to override a council vote. For the Town Council I would also add that a two-thirds vote would impeach a member of the Council. If we have this oversight power and limit the expansion of the Councils’ powers as Andy suggested we should have no problem with “big government,” as it were, even if the colonists we elect somehow turn into power hungry monsters, which I’m sure they won’t.

    Finally, I just want to make sure that we have settled the age of majority question. Age 16, with the “extraordinary services” clause to give voting powers to citizens under age 16 with a two-thirds vote? If that is not settled we should do so before we continue with the other matters.

  10. Andrew Stuart Says:

    Connor, you have a point on representation. Two from Mayflower maybe high but I submit that is better to have a small over-representation than an even number!

    I personally would rather see that than a large council with an even number!

  11. The Historian Says:

    Perhaps we are all spinning our wheels over something that isn’t terribly important at the moment. Might I suggest that for the time being we remove the “Mayflower equation?” Simply put, and I think Captain Travis would agree, those on board the Mayflower are going to run their lives as they, and the Captain, see fit. Therefore, let’s just focus on our own Town Council. If and when an issue arises that concerns the two colonies, we will call in the Mayflower and they can send one or all nine members however they want. They don’t have voting rights regarding the Liberty Town Council. We don’t have voting rights regarding their ship. It is in both our interests that the two colonies work together but let’s simplify things for now.

    So. We’re back to a simple five person Town Council to be comprised of five full time residents of Liberty. This council — this system — will be in force for a period of 200 days at which time we will revisit the issue.  Further, the age of majority is 16-Earth-years-old.

    The purpose of the Town Council is to co-ordinate such town wide projects as are needed for our quality of life however, the power of that council is limited to management.  Any laws that we might pass must be passed by an up-and-down vote of all colonists of legal age.  Connor, you suggested 50% plus one.  Might I raise the bar even higher and state that for any law to pass, it requires a super-majority of votes by the colonists of a minimum of two-thirds?  66 1/3% to insure that frivolous laws are not passed?

    Are all in agreement so far?  I open the floor back up…

  12. Subba Akai Says:

    I can agree on much of Connors position but disagree in particular on one point. The 50%+1 override. We elect these people after all, I suggest we trust them and have a 60%+1 override. And as to the over representation of the Mayflower I tend to agree with Connor on that point. Either party should be free to pull out of the arraignment with prior notice so a numerical disparity should not matter. If that’s how it is then both sides might give greater weight to the consequences of disagreement.

  13. Subbu Akai Says:

    And yes Historian your position is admirable.

  14. Andrew Stuart Says:

    I can say that that would not break my heart! Stick to the Liberty Council, continue the handshake support agreement between Liberty / Mayflower and formalize at a later date. Works for everyone as I see it!

    It establishes the concept of the Federation and leaves the nuts and bolts to a later date. A time when we should know more about what is actually needed!

  15. The Historian Says:

    Why don’t we also state that for a council member to be recalled — voted off — as Mr. Akai says, also requires a super-majority of 2/3 to avoid petty, er, petitions?

  16. Connor Benjamin Says:

    Alright, so just to summarize:

    We will elect a Town Council of five members, who are to be in charge of day to day and managerial decisions. They can also propose laws by a majority vote of their members, which would then be submitted to the colony for an up or down vote. I like Mr. Akai’s idea of 60%+1 - it’s a compromise between a pure majority and a true super majority, so I would suggest that as the percent of the popular vote required to pass a law, as well as the percent required to overturn a Council decision. A full two thirds vote can impeach a member of the Council. The mandate of the Council will expire after 200 Alchibahn days, at which time we will as a colony convene to decide on a permanent government. In addition, for the time being there will be no formal relationship between Mayflower and Liberty. Have I missed anything?

    I have two additional proposals to make. First, the voting age citizens of Liberty should meet every 25 days to vote on laws proposed by the council. In addition, an emergency meeting can be called by a petition of 33% of the voting age citizens or four out of five members of the board. Second, the council should also have as its duty to prepare several proposals for a permanent form of government to be revised, discarded or voted on in 200 days time as the colonists see fit.

  17. Subbu Akai Says:

    I meant no intentional disrespect Mr. Benjamin in my previous address to you as Connor. It is hard sometimes to discern the appropriate level of formality in a free society. I wish to say now that I support you in every particular but one. I feel the Colony may deal with The Mayflower subject to the 25 day review period. I thank you all.

  18. JJ Parker Says:

    Histy, I can agree to your summary of the proposals and with the first part of Connor’s statement. Let’s table his two additional proposals until the basics are confirmed.

    There are two additional questions to consider:
    -will majority voting be based on those present or the total number of eligible voters?
    -Will absentee voting [via wrist comp, etc] be accepted?

  19. Connor Benjamin Says:

    {laughing} Subbu, I only called you Mr. Akai because I don’t know you that well and I didn’t know the level of formality. I guess we just got our wires crossed! And as far as dealing with the issue of the Mayflower in one of the later meetings, we’re absolutely on the same page.

    And JJ, to your points, I’d say the percent should be based on the number of people voting, just like on Earth. And absentee voting via wrist comp should absolutely be allowed, as long as we have a security check on the connections.

  20. Andrew Stuart Says:

    Mr. Moderator. As we seemed to have reached an accord! This being my original Point of Order. Based on no further inquires, I Call The Question!

  21. The Historian Says:

    So stated, we will have a Town Council consisting of five members elected by popular vote. Their given task is to manage day-to-day affairs that impact the entire community. If they propose an ordinance, it must be voted on by all colonists, with a 60% plus one majority needed to pass.

    A council decision can be vetoed by a colonist vote of 60% plus one.

    A councilman, sorry, councilperson can be recalled — impeached — by a 66 2/3% vote of the colonists.

    An emergency Town Meeting can be called by petition of 33% of the colonists, else, the council will decide on it’s own, with a 4 to 1 majority, when to hold, for any purpose, a Town Meeting.

    All council meetings are to be announced and open to the public at large and non-council members are to be given a chance to speak if they so desire.

    The term of this council shall expire two hundred days from today.

    One of the duties of this council will be to offer proposals for a more permanent form of government.

    Voting is to be allowed in person, or by encrypted wristpad.

    The age of majority, with full priviledges and responsibilities will be 16 Earth years.

    If we are in agreement, I will then call a 10-minute recess so all can stretch their legs.

Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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