CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

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Sudane Erato
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CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

Post by Sudane Erato » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:24 am

In the Minutes of the RA meeting of Monday April 15, Rosie included the following note:
*5. Citizen Concerns
Awenbunny said that she doesn't like how the citizenship requirements for land work for partners since she has to have a parcel and tierbox in her name to be a citizen, but she doesn't use the parcel since the prims can't be shared with her partner's other parcel. It was explained that this is how the law works for citizenship. She would like the question to be revisited. Rosie advised her to bring it up for discussion on the forums.
Rather than waiting for Awenbunny to introduce the topic, I thought that I would re-introduce this agonizing issue. If any doubt my use of the word “agonizing”, let them do a simple search of “+citizenship +definition” in our forums to see the immense volume of ink that has been spilled over the years agonizing over this issue. Here are only two of the more recent, useful threads.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6899

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7615

I bring this up myself because I too have long been torn about the issue. As I note in one of the threads there, the policy IS arbitrary… and it IS awkward. (In reading those posts, please substitute the name Casper for the name Hippo, as we have changed the tierbox system since those posts were written. However, procedures remain the same.) And despite our adoption of the system, it is totally true that it can still be gamed… explained in one of the threads.

At one point you’ll read Pat Murakami make a fervent case for using ONLY tierbox status to define citizenship… if your name is on the tierbox, and you are current in your tier, you are a citizen. This completely drops the “land ownership” requirement. It would be hugely simpler, and would enable renters to be citizens as well as owners. I myself have a large sympathy for this POV, but that said, I have a profound understanding of what that would lose us as a unique community of landowning citizens, each with a STAKE in our land.

And then following Pat’s proposal, and found throughout the entire and massive discussion stretching back probably to 2004, are the fervent arguments for landowning.

And coupled with concluding that “landowning” should be a part of any citizenship definition, the huge concern of how to administer the census. WHO is a citizen??

I can list a whole array of interesting ideas on how to define citizenship in ways that would make huge more sense than the system we have now. And explain the obstacles. Here are a few.

1) Simply require that citizens be current in tier on the parcel that they actually own! Sounds elementary, but as explained in the first link, “Census Procedure”, our current scanning system doesn’t allow for that. Please… where are you scripting geniuses when we need you?? This could be a solvable problem.

2) Assuming that we are committed to the idea of land ownership being a core requirement for citizenship, perhaps we COULD allow the idea of more than one person owning a parcel of land. The SL system allows a parcel to be owned by ONE individual or by a group. So the first problem here is how we can read the names of who owns each parcel. Our current scanner tells us names of owners, and it tells us that some of the parcels on a sim are owned by groups… but that’s it. Utterly no way of probing (with a script that we have anyway) into the group, naming the members, counting the members.

3) Further. If we decided that being a member of a group that owns land qualifies you to be a citizen, surely we would also want to define the number of people in the group. A person could set up a group and invite all their 10 friends. The group could own 10 parcels, with each tierbox in the name of a different member of the group. Is that something we would welcome? Or should the group be limited to only 2 persons, i.e. a relationship partnership (leaving aside families and polyamory for the moment…). Again, while the idea offers wonderful speculation, we have no tools at our disposal (at the moment) to administer this.

I could go on and on. There really are lots of ideas which would be much more fair and make a lot more sense than the current system… and perhaps attract more citizens to join us. But we are severely constrained by what we can do with the tools we have. Please think about soliciting the help of those genius scripters you know!

*OR*

Consider supporting the step of losing landowning as a citizenship requirement. For this citizen, at least, I am completely torn.


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Re: CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

Post by Sylvia Tamalyn » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:01 am

This should become an interesting debate. I realize CDS is not RL, but it is modeled after RL. In RL, renters can vote, and absolutely should be eligible to do so, so I'm not at all committed to the concept that one must own land in order to have the right to vote. I'll have to ponder this one after I've had time to read all the back history, but my gut instinct is that at the very least, partners should both be eligible to vote. It has an icky patriarchal feel to only allow one "head of household" allowed to vote for both, and personally, I don't like the notion that one is somehow not worthy to vote unless one owns land.

I understand the "having a stake" argument but I keep thinking of how wrong that would be in RL. The simple answer is the one Awen was given (buy your own parcel), and that is what the law says, but why force someone to buy a parcel they cannot use for shared prims? Right now, if we must keep the "landowner" requirement, I'm thinking along the lines of allowing group-owned land, and if the group owners wish citizenship, having the law provide some way for them to register a request to be kept on record of the group's designated "voting citizens". I'm thinking something similar to how corporations register a list of their officers. (Of course, we'd want a limit on how many members per group could have citizenship.)

I am all for law changes that give more, rather than fewer, freedoms to citizens, and hope a more flexible definition of "citizen" can be found.
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Re: CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

Post by richie deschanel » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:00 pm

Thank you for those very reasoned views Sylvia.

As many of you will know Awenbunny (Awen) and I are partners and married in SL. We own a plot within the city walls (940 Talenstrasse) which we moved into after getting married and have given over a lot of prims to create two shops for the community within this magnificent building - a pharmacy and a dressmakers. Despite also owning a prim parcel this leaves us with few prims for our 'private' accommodation.

I have been a long standing resident of the CDS (with occasional vacations) and want Awen to be able to get involved in the community as a citizen in her own right. This is what happens in a democracy. Awen and I also want to become more involved in the CDS community and I know that many of you will have seen us around, walking the dog through the sims and attending events. either together or individually when one of us is not online. We consider the CDS our home.

940 Talenstrasse and the prim plot are in my name (although Awen shares the cost of these with me). We were advised that to become a citizen Awen needed to own land in her own name, which as Sylvia quite rightly points out is a rather Dickensian law for a 'democracy' and it is somewhat ironic that this year is the centenary of women getting the vote in the UK (I am English). So, we bought another parcel, or rather Awen bought another parcel (Sudanestrasse 1645) but we soon worked out that the only way we could use the combined prim total of the 2 plots was to deed them to group, which we did (to our own group with only me and Awen as members) only to find that at the next census neither of us were 'citizens' despite owning 2 plots and a prim parcel. So we un-deeded the land again which leaves us with a useless parcel at Sudanestrasse which we will not live in or use and serves only to give Awen citizenship rights. This cannot be right.

We have been told that this is the law as it stands, which we both accept, but laws can be changed where they are clearly unjust. We accept that currently we both need to be landowners but cannot accept that as a married couple we are unable to use the combined prim allowance on our main house, keeping enough prims for a house at the other plot. It must be possible to allow for this to happen - both plots (3 with the prim parcel) are all in the same sim. Grouping or some form of prim deeding would seem to be the answer.

We have been told many things, including that I was told we couldn't deed the plots (I wasn't) and that Awen could buy a prim parcel to give her citizenship (which would mean she has a prim allowance we can't use so solving nothing). We both love this community and want to get more involved. We may even stand for office in the future - something I have never done, we feel so strongly about this issue.

In the mean-time we will be turning our little shop at Sudanstrasse into an exhibit on women's suffrage - keep an eye out for it and please do visit our other shops at Talenstrasse which I hope you will all feel add to the community.

Richie Deschanel
Last edited by richie deschanel on Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

Post by Sudane Erato » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:17 am

richie deschanel wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:00 pm
Thank you for those very reasoned views Sylvia.

As many of you will know Awenbunny (Awen) and I are partners and married in SL. We own a plot within the city walls (940 Talenstrasse) which we moved into after getting married and have given over a lot of prims to create two shops for the community within this magnificent building - a pharmacy and a dressmakers. Despite also owning a prim parcel this leaves us with few prims for our 'private' accommodation.

I have been a long standing resident of the CDS (with occasional vacations) and want Awen to be able to get involved in the community as a citizen in her own right. This is what happens in a democracy. Awen and I also want to become more involved in the CDS community and I know that many of you will have seen us around, walking the dog through the sims and attending events. either together or individually when one of us is not online. We consider the CDS our home.

940 Talenstrasse and the prim plot are in my name (although Awen shares the cost of these with me). We were advised that to become a citizen Awen needed to own land in her own name, which as Sylvia quite rightly points out is a rather Dickensian law for a 'democracy' and it is somewhat ironic that this year is the centenary of women getting the vote in the UK (I am English). So, we bought another parcel, or rather Awen bought another parcel (Sudanestrasse 1645) but we soon worked out that the only way we could use the combined prim total of the 2 plots was to deed them to group, which we did (to our own group with only me and Awen as members) only to find that at the next census neither of us were 'citizens' despite owning 2 plots and a prim parcel. So we un-deeded the land again which leaves us with a useless parcel at Sudanestrasse which we will not live in or use and serves only to give Awen citizenship rights. This cannot be right.

We have been told that this is the law as it stands, which we both accept, but laws can be changed where they are clearly unjust. We accept that currently we both need to be landowners but cannot accept that as a married couple we are unable to use the combined prim allowance on our main house, keeping enough prims for a house at the other plot. It must be possible to allow for this to happen - both plots (3 with the prim parcel) are all in the same sim. Grouping or some form of prim deeding would seem to be the answer.

We have been told many things, including that I was told we couldn't deed the plots (I wasn't) that that Awen could buy a prim parcel to give her citizenship (which would mean she has a prim allowance we can't use so solving nothing). We both love this community and want to get more involved. We may even stand for office in the future - something I have never done, we feel so strongly about this issue.

In the mean-time we will be turning our little shop at Sudanstrasse into an exhibit on women's suffrage - keep an eye out for it and please do visit our other shops at Talenstrasse which I hope you will all feel add to the community.

Richie Deschanel
All very reasonable feelings and admirable positions, which I for one would not dispute. Now... may I ask you to suggest a solution?


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Re: CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

Post by Rosie Gray » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:51 am

richie deschanel wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:00 pm
940 Talenstrasse and the prim plot are in my name (although Awen shares the cost of these with me). We were advised that to become a citizen Awen needed to own land in her own name, which as Sylvia quite rightly points out is a rather Dickensian law for a 'democracy' and it is somewhat ironic that this year is the centenary of women getting the vote in the UK (I am English).
I understand your points, Richie, but I don't see why you or Sylvia thinks that the law reflects any kind of bias towards women. It would be the same situation for any couple, be they gay, straight, or ambiguous. When both require a parcel in their name to be considered a citizen, that shows to me that the law is viewing people as equals. Nobody is a chattel to the other.

Otherwise, what are your proposals to replace the law? How would you see it work?

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Re: CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

Post by Sylvia Tamalyn » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:10 am

That half of a sentence out of a three paragraph post was not the point I was attempting to make.

So I shall try again. What I was saying is that I don't think it's right to require that one must be a landowner in order to vote. I think more flexible citizenship requirements should be considered. However, if one absolutely must be a landowner in order to vote, then there needs to be a way to allow prim sharing within households or groups. That is a legitimate complaint when one member of a couple (for example) has to pay rent on a "spare" parcel month after month and the only practical benefit for that person is the ability to vote twice per year (in elections that often don't even require a vote because not enough people are running!).

As I also suggested in that same post, one way of accomplishing this would be to allow groups to own land and register a list (whether that be two people or more) of designated citizens who would enjoy the right to vote the same as non-group landowners do.
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Re: CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

Post by richie deschanel » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:44 pm

I am not saying it is anti-women, I am saying that it is anti partnerships. Ours happens to be male/female but it would equally apply to same sex couples or people cohabiting or living together.

The simplest way to fix it would be to allow deed to group where the group members are residents of the CDS. This could be by application so the parties are registered as citizens and removed should residency cease.

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Re: CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

Post by richie deschanel » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:51 pm

There are rental systems that allow partners to be registered such that either can pay tier. This was in place at Fruit Islands when we lived there.

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Re: CDS Citizenship --- yet again!

Post by Callipygian » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:55 pm

The challenge of defining citizenship has always been about attempting to ensure that any election that is held, and any candidate that runs, is an identifiable resident of CDS who has been resident for more than 28 days, as per the Constitution.

The only way to clearly identify that has always been a) you have your name on a piece of land as owner, and that land was owned by you continuously for 28 days before candidacy or voting. That is the reason for the censuses. If there is no method of establishing continuous residency through individual land ownership and tier, the fear has always been that anyone wishing to meddle with elections (and therefore the laws of CDS, the reserves of CDS etc) will just bring in a bunch of friends/relatives/alts as part of their land group and qualify them all to vote. In small scale elections like those in CDS half a dozen votes can totally change the makeup of the RA or guarantee a chancellorship.

If I am not mistaken didn't we actually have voting rights for group members at one point, somewhere around when I came to CDS (it may have been part of the trial period with El Andalus or have been specifically CDS)? That had its own headaches, since a certain amount of land per voting person had to be held and paid for by the group,checking on that required keeping a list of who the group voting members were, checking enough land was continuously held and paid for and so on.

There is also, of course, the solvency of CDS as a part of this. Tier is what pays for the land, and keeps CDS in existence and paying tier (or call them taxes :) has been the way to show commitment; in return for supporting the costs of CDS, one gets to have a say in how things are run. If one small parcel can establish citizenship for two, can it also do so for polyamourous threesomes, foursomes etc? Cann on-romantic 'partnerships' form to cut the cost of living in half.

I am not trying to be argumentative here, just pointing out some of the 'why' and identifying what has to be addressed if you are planning to make changes.

Calli
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