Page 3 of 4

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:44 pm
by Cadence Theas
Cleo,

Just like your Supreme Court, the SC is a governmental but not a political body, presumably above the political fray and the usual sort of partisan criteria that we impose on and criticisms that we level at government. The fact that it is a self-appointing body means that the members are not subject to the same rules of performance or accountability as are elected officials. Your critique of the SC and concern for its recall are basically irrelevant.

If you change the character of the SC, as your criticism or suggestion implies, then you remove any chance for there to be a relatively impartial body that keeps CDS on track in spite of the elected officials of the moment.

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:48 pm
by cleopatraxigalia
Cadence,

I did not criticize the Scientific Council in this thread. I simply asked if the Recall of the Chancellor and RA legislative discussion is to also include the Scientific Council and if not then, why not them too?

I understand exactly what the SC is and their stated role.

I did not introduce the proposed legislation but if it comes to a vote I will need to cast an Aye Nay or abstain vote on the matter.

This thread is simply to discuss the merits of the proposal .. and offer any additions or changes to it.

The "Recall of RA members" proposed legislation will also be a constitutional change. I will go on record now that in its current form I am opposed for various reasons already in the thread.

A re-written bill that puts more power into the hands of the people properly to change direction of the government mid term would be something I MIGHT consider.

Cadence, again, I did not criticize the SC as you state in your thread. I asked Rosie if the RA and chancellor recall, should include the Scientific Council also. It was simply a question not a criticism.

I appreciate your passion forCDS and for doing what you can to make things better.

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:46 pm
by Tor Karlsvalt
No doubt recall provisions in RL sever a purpose where terms are usually two or four years. Some terms might even by six years for US Senators. In CDS, the RA and Chancellor serve six month terms. Recall elections would only add to the drama during a term and stymie governance in the sim. Not to mention I could see a recall election being followed by a by election and then the next regular election following soon afterward. Finally, this would be more work for the SC who administers elections and for Jon who would have to make necessary updates to the election software.

It might be best for the RA to police itself. Perhaps RA could adopt some Code of Conduct and a censure procedure or even a fine schedule for offenses.

There may be an argument for a constitutional provision outlining conditions when a seat is vacant. Even this would have to be rather liberal in my view. For instance, an RA member who reasonably can not make a meeting for some serious medial or personal issue should be able to declare that to the LRA and be excused. It would be another matter if a member was absent for no declared reason.

Ultimately I do feel absenteeism is a legitimate campaign issue. The voters can decide who is capable of governing our sims. To that issue I must say that the current RA has been able to achieve a quorum at every meeting and the business of CDS has not stopped due to absenteeism.

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:22 pm
by cleopatraxigalia
Tor What you say about this proposed law makes sense. It's certainly not necessary. It's inevitable in a healthy democracy that there will people who's political views differ from our own.

I agree with you, nice post .

I wonder why Pat was so keen on this proposal? Not the kind of thinking I'd like to see in a cds chancellor personally.

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:36 am
by Gwyneth Llewelyn
Sorry guys. I'm afraid that I have to completely oppose this proposal vehemently, to be consistent with myself: I fundamentally oppose ostracism in all its forms, either veiled, implicit, or quite explicit. Pat and Sudane know exactly where I stand on this, and we have disagreed about the need of ostracism in democracy for years and years :-) I'm sure neither will be surprised that I make, once again, my stand as the defender of inclusion and a repudiator of ostracism.

That doesn't mean that I'm simply stating a philosophical ideal and refusing to see any contradicting opinions, blinded by my ideals. That's not true; I've certainly discussed ostracism laws openly in the forums, but also privately, in emails and in-world informal gatherings. I've listened to all the arguments about how "certain people" tend to disrupt communities, and the "best way" is to force them to leave, before their damage is overwhelming and the community breaks apart because of them. I have listened and thought a lot about that.

To be fair, the temptation is great. All of us, at some point, would rather prefer that the CDS only had our friends in it, and that we had a way to exclude disruptive members of the CDS. We imagine that as our utopian paradise: a way to have peace, have fun, engage in interesting and constructive activities, instead of having to deal with disruption, insults, and community fractures. So obviously I have often felt that temptation as well... it's just human, I guess.

But over the years — and perhaps also thanks to my own spiritual training — I have accepted that things changed. The worst enemies can become the best friends over time, and the reverse certainly becomes true. People's moods change over time, and someone who was nagging and pestering suddenly becomes caring, loving, and sympathetic. People's reactions also change: we might become more tolerant over time, or, by contrast, everything starts to annoy us. And, more likely than not, whatever the reason, our opinion changes over time. I have some friends that love to quote me stating precisely the opposite of what I defended years ago :)

My views of democracy are inclusive, not exclusive. Re-reading Kaseido's 2010 article, published on a scientific journal, quoting my over-optimistic goals of having 5% of the grid to be a self-governed democracy, made me smile. But ten years ago I really had that ambition: making the CDS a model of inclusion, showing its tolerance to differing views (and personalities!), setting an example to show that people can live under a democracy without necessarily agreeing with each other. Without an inclusivity clause — without abhoring ostracism — the CDS cannot become more than a "private club" where a handful of citizens have an odd way of dealing with issues, but leave people out when they hold different opinions than the majority.

I'm really sorry, but ten years of a democratic CDS have failed to convince me that ostracism is a good idea.

In fact, some of you might remember how Ulrika was actually expelled from the CDS, and what measures where taken. To be more precise, Ulrika hasn't even been banned from the CDS (she can visit us any time, if she wishes). Our ultimate sanction — the equivalent of the "death penalty" in the countries that have it — is actually removing the right to ever become a citizen again. But to enact that, it required a very extensive procedure — a region-wide devastation, an abuse of group powers, and a huge trial, with lots of input from witnesses from both sides, to result in a very long document detailing everything. That was done only once in our history.

The current proposal to simply remove members of the RA when they got elected, but people somehow regret their decision — which was expressed in their vote! — and now have a different mechanism to remove them from office... well, it's ostracism at its best. The election results are not necessarily obvious during the campaining; STV makes predictions harder (because of 2nd, 3rd choices etc.). So citizens, when voting, are hoping that their friends are in and their enemies are out, but sometimes (often!) that doesn't happen. The proposed mechanism on this thread would effectively give citizens a second chance to throw out their enemies from office — while STV was designed to allow minorities to get a seat, specifically to avoid excluding minority voices from having a role in a democracy.

And we do, indeed, have mechanisms to remove RA members from office. The first, and most important one, is that candidates serve for a term of six months, and then we have new elections :) That's the best way of removing people we don't like from office — just don't vote of them. Simple.

Then, the RA also has internal procedures to remove one of their members from office. Typical scenarios would be someone that fails to meet continuously — say, someone who lost Internet access for six months, without the ability to log in. In those cases, it makes sense to remove them from office, and this can be dealt internally by the RA. I can definitely agree with more sanctions, like missing 4 RA meetings — that's actually a very good idea: if RA members fail to do the duties for which they have been elected, it makes sense to impose sanctions of some sort.

And, finally, we have impeachment. The SC can still impeach RA members, as far as I know, for their failure to execute their duties — namely, failing to uphold the Constitution and our Laws. Of course, we expect the SC to use that power wisely. But I can certainly accept the idea that groups of citizens make a petition to the Dean of the SC, based on their view of how the Constitution and the Laws have been upholded (or not) by a certain member, to start impeachment trials against that member. This would be quite consistent with the SC's powers and the spirit of our legislation. Of course, it would be the SC's privilege to decide if they accept the petition or not. But I can imagine that a petition signed by more than half the population would definitely encourage a SC to initiate impeachment against a RA member. Note that it would still be a fair trial: that member would certainly have the right to defend themselves publicly!

In my mind, we have no further need for any other laws to remove RA members from office. I will certainly never sponsor any ostracism laws, and firmly oppose them, as long as I'm a RA member :)

On a lighter note, if you dislike my strong opinion, feel free to impeach me :-) But I simply prefer that you vote me out of office on the next term :-) That's the democratic way.

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:33 am
by Delia Lake
I think there is a corollary issue here that has been raised only in passing. How do we officially handle a situation when someone has been elected to office then doesn't sign in to sl at all, perhaps for months, or leaves sl entirely. This did happen a few years ago. Jimmy McMahon was elected to a seat on the RA. Before that RA actually was seated, he left sl and deleted his avatar. My recollection is that this was at the beginning of the last RA that was elected via Faction so that eventually his Faction found someone else to take that seat. If that happened today, by what mechanism would we declare that someone was derelict of duty of the elected office and how long would that take? What if the person we elected to be Chancellor was sworn in officially then for whatever rl reasons, didn't log into sl again for a few months. We've seen from this recent Chancellor resignation that a total void in the Office of Executive for even a single month causes some difficulties in the day to day operations of the CDS. If we are considering amending the laws and writing some to cover by-elections, let's consider some of these possible circumstances too.

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:37 am
by Gwyneth Llewelyn
I agree, Delia, these are more important issues, and maybe we can revise Calli's drafts to include those cases.

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:10 am
by cleopatraxigalia
I agree with Gwyns post .. not much more to add, except a question, ....

what is the appeal if the SC uses its power in a corrupt manner to impeach an RA member? A referendum? The RA itself? If impeached by the SC can they run again next term and let the citizens vote.


I would think the reasons the SC would impeach an elected official, elected by the citizens.. would need to be something very specifically stated and precise. Nothing that is arguable.


The RA can impeach a member of the SC also. So they have some incentive to remove a member if they see a storm brewing against them. ....

The SC is a self appointed body ....... so it is difficult for it to remain "relevant" and representative, or reflective of the current population when CDS is growing rapidly or is very polarized.

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:49 am
by Gwyneth Llewelyn
As far as I know, the only scenario that applies in your case, Cleo, is mutual impeachment procedures :)

I see it as an 'arms race' in the Cold War: SC and RA mostly try to behave within acceptable and honourable limits, avoiding to be impeached, which is a nasty thing to happen :)

Of course, there is always a scenario when RA, Chancellor, and the SC are coordinated together... and this has certainly happened in the past. I know because I was a part of those times :) lol

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 3:53 am
by Pip Torok
.
.
Hi,

I'd like to step back and (hopefully) view this in the way a complete newcomer might see it :

(1) This issue in practice is centred around how one particular person chooses to behave.

(2) Every six months, the electorate, via STV, can collectively state whether that person stays as a government member, or goes.


Some conclusions this newcomer might take :

"If elections happen every six months, why doesn't EVERY voter look very carefully at this behaviour and its impact, then vote accordingly?"

"Does this behaviour have the same impact both in the Government and out of it?"

"If I'm in CDS and I dislike the impact of this behaviour (and conclude that this person delights in it) what do I do?"


My own thoughts? : that I would rate my wish to get along with all within Government, Citizenry, and Friends of CDS as equal to my wish to speak without fear or favour ... were I to find myself a member of the RA.


Pip Torok

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Fri May 02, 2014 11:22 am
by Bromo Ivory
I don't think a newcomer would view the election quite that way

I beleive a newcomer would see the election as something that elects the RA (and Chancellor), from scratch. It is also a mandate on what was discussed - and what policies and decisions the various candidates promise to do if elected. No more, no less.

I think once you have been here for awhile, and collect some baggage, that you might be under the impression that these elections are mandates on single individuals.
Pip Torok wrote:.
.
Hi,

I'd like to step back and (hopefully) view this in the way a complete newcomer might see it :

(1) This issue in practice is centred around how one particular person chooses to behave.

(2) Every six months, the electorate, via STV, can collectively state whether that person stays as a government member, or goes.


Some conclusions this newcomer might take :

"If elections happen every six months, why doesn't EVERY voter look very carefully at this behaviour and its impact, then vote accordingly?"

"Does this behaviour have the same impact both in the Government and out of it?"

"If I'm in CDS and I dislike the impact of this behaviour (and conclude that this person delights in it) what do I do?"


My own thoughts? : that I would rate my wish to get along with all within Government, Citizenry, and Friends of CDS as equal to my wish to speak without fear or favour ... were I to find myself a member of the RA.


Pip Torok

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:46 am
by Felicia Fortune
While researching another topic, I came across this discussion.
During this term, one member of the Representative Assembly, Tor Karlsvalt, has missed 4 of the 6 meetings this term. To my knowledge, he is still a sitting member and has not resigned and there appears to be no procedures to remove him from office for failure to perform his duties.
During the last term, impeachment petitions were started to remove one member, Cleopatra Xigalia for a blatant violations of SL TOS and CDS Law however, this person resigned before the proceedings began.
While there appears to be procedures for the removal of the Chancellor and members of the Scientific Council, there does not appear to be laws that would allow for the replacement of an elected RA member who fails to perform their duties. If a member resigns, it appears that the seat remains empty until the next term.
In another topic, LRA Cadence Theas has expressed the difficulty in finding times convenient for all members and the Chancellor to meet and during this term, RA Meetings have become less and less frequent.
What is the result?
I think it's obvious. The proverbial wheels of government grind to halt and nothing gets accomplished.
I respect those who volunteer their time and efforts to serve in volunteer positions which serve the greater good and respect those even more who realize that they no longer have the time to serve and step down, allowing others to take their place. But what would be the result if one or even two elected RA Members decided to step down?
And what about those who won't?
I thought I would bump this topic for discussion as it contains a proposed solution to this problem. Perhaps the RA of the next term will consider this proposal as it looks unlikely that the current RA will have the time to take up this matter given their current legislative objectives and the time remain for this term.
Felicia

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:35 am
by Josie Fotherington
I am curious to know if situations like this (an RA member or other govt official going AWOL or breaking TOS) have happened much in the past? If there are no criteria and procedures for removal of an RA member, then perhaps it hasn't happened very often?

I like knowing as much as I can of the background of a situation. It helps me understand it and therefore brainstorm solutions.

I agree with Felicia that this has become a more important issue after this term and I also agree that it will likely have to be dealt with after this 22nd term concludes.

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:50 am
by Widget Whiteberry
I'm reminded of Josie's comments about expanding our 'virtual' meeting practices beyond synchronous inworld events. RA members might discuss and even vote on issues in these forums. They are open for all of us to read and threads might be launched for citizen and observer comments on each agenda item. Given notice via inworld group and say, 7-day windows, on an issue, I see several advantages to augmenting our options:
  • • Increased opportunity for timely exploration and resolution of agenda items.
    • Increased opportunity for citizens or potential citizens to attend to workings of gov't.
    • Encourage citizens who might want to serve the community via the RA, but whose rl obligations and location make scheduling of synchronous events difficult.
More? Disadvantges?

edited to add: Law Review could not function without email, g-docs and skype (chat/voice).

Re: Recall of RA Members

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:59 pm
by Josie Fotherington
I actually brought this question up during this week's government question hour. There appear to be two big hurdles:

1. Including a way for citizens to provide input during the asynchronous session
2. Citizen resistance to using any asynchronous tool

I think #1 is surmountable. I don't know the "how" of it, but I am confident it could be done. I am also confident that I could figure it out and set up the procedures and training for the procedures.

#2 ...

Well, it is what it is.