Bill Proposal: Citizenship Voting/Landholding Act

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Bromo Ivory

Bill Proposal: Citizenship Voting/Landholding Act

Post by Bromo Ivory »

I have been observing different groups within CDS playing "the land game" to try to influence elections - and to try to keep land off of the market so they can control who comes in and who doesn't CDS. This is reaching a fevered pitch this last term. I feel that it has an overall erosive effect on democracy and good governance, since it becomes more about power than ideas and good governance.

In fact some of the games people are playing surrounding the new SIM and its timing are directly due to the election that's coming up as well. I was looking over the pattern of landholding, who was doing what ... and am proposing this idea for discussion. Perhaps it's time for the various factions to lay down the "gaming the system" things, and concentrate on the best paths forward.

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Preamble: Of the last few years there have been a number of parties attempting to "game" the vote by buying and selling land in a manner to try to keep some people out and allow others in depending upon their political affiliations. This era has seen all political stripes adopt this practice making CDS more about power and "vote packing" than ideas and governance. Due to the erosive effects upon democracy of this, the following bill is proposed:

1. The landowner in waiting

If someone wants to become a CDS citizen and land is not available, they may pay a minimal tier corresponding to a single prim 256m^2 lot per month. This gives them the right to own a plot of that size when a suitable plot is available. The Chancellor's office will give right of first refusal to any and all landowners in waiting before the general public. All rights and responsibilities of citizenship will be bequeathed (including voting) to the landowner in waiting. If the landowner in waiting refuses land purchase 3 times, provided the lots are the same price of a 1024m^2 or less single prim lot at government purchase rates, the landowner is waiting status will be removed, and have a 1 month waiting period before applying for being a landowner in waiting.

2. Group ownership of land

A group may own up to 1024m^2 of land. If the group is to own more than that amount, the citizens in its membership shall "donate" their holding rights towards the group (reducing the amount that citizen can hold privately and the group can then hold that amount of land in addition to the 1024m^2 plot). Any land in excess of this, at the time of the bill's passage will have 30 days in order to sell it or it will be reclaimed until the total sum of the group is below the ownership threshold.

Any group that owns land must present an accounting of the landholdings of all citizen members, the amount given to the group, and the amount the group owns. No group land counts towards any citizenship requirement (meaning the citizen group member must maintain a minimal plot on their own).

A group can acquire no more than 1 plot per month (deeding, transfer or sale). A group cannot sell or transfer its land to anyone, it can only abandon the land aside from the 30 day period from the beginning of the bill.

3. Small plot ownership preservation act

Any citizen may only own a maximum of 2 512m^2 or smaller plots. The maximum landholding requirements are unaffected. Any in excess of this will be reclaimed by the Chancellor's office. A single town parcel and an associated single prim lot in Neufreistadt counts as one plot for these purposes. Any other single prim multiplier land where one is a residential plot and the other is a designated prim lot will count as a single lot for these purposes.

4. Tier/Land ownership disparity

When land is purchased, but the tierbox not set to the same name as the land owner, the land is considered in arrears for purposes of land reclamation, except once 7 days in arrears in this manner the land shall be reclaimed.
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Re: Bill Proposal: Citizenship Voting/Landholding Act

Post by Sudane Erato »

Bromo, I think that I as well as many of us agree with the problem that you define regarding land sales manipulating the voter ranks. But how in the world does your proposal number one address that? It seems to me that number one makes it utterly simply to plop down a few L$s, vote, and then leave.

The problem certainly needs to be addressed. We must have a solution to this problem if the CDS is to survive. But I really don't see how these proposals address the problem.


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Bromo Ivory

Re: Bill Proposal: Citizenship Voting/Landholding Act

Post by Bromo Ivory »

Let's say you blow away my first point. Then what?
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Re: Bill Proposal: Citizenship Voting/Landholding Act

Post by Sudane Erato »

Bromo Ivory wrote:Let's say you blow away my first point. Then what?
We've struggled for a very long time trying to devise a way to identify residents with a "long term" and vested interest in the CDS as individuals worthy of a vote. Please make no mistake... it's a hugely important issue which begs for a solution. Not only must we find a system to identify those truly committed to participation in the community, but we must devise a system that is administratable! Both are very very difficult.

I don't have an answer. Our current system was devised with just these criteria in mind, that an individual would go to the trouble ( :/ ) of purchasing land and paying for it over a period of several months as a demonstration of vested interest. And to support this, the census system was devised... not elegant, but marginally functional.

I totally support the idea that other systems might achieve the same goals while being less subject to manipulation. Sadly, I've seen no better specific suggestions, and I have no ideas myself.


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Bromo Ivory

Re: Bill Proposal: Citizenship Voting/Landholding Act

Post by Bromo Ivory »

I think one of the characteristics of when I joined CDS years ago and today, is today people have figured out a way to "game" citizenship by either holding onto land in order to prevent people from coming in (possibly using the unlimited landholding in groups as a mechanism for this), or holding onto land and only selling it to whomever they want. Or being the "ally" that allows them to come into CDS. I saw this latter move play itself out a few days ago when I was flying around as a bat and saw a group of people talking to a prospective new citizen - no land available but "suddenly" they were able to find a plot amongst them. And later investigation found that this person that had the plot made no bones about "gaming" the system - as they said as much.

I know we have tried to find ways of decoupling citizenship from land in some manner - and prevent gaming of the system.

My #1 proposal is the most radical, and along the lines of things we were thinking in 2007/8. It was actually tried out in AA, and became disused or abolished when nobody really wanted to pay tier for "no land." It was controversial then, and I think likely even more so now.

But I think adjusting land holding rules and requirements (and plugging the large loophole with group ownership/land freezouts) for land holding might be important.

But ... another way to look at it, is as long as people play the land game, they will pour a ton of cash into holding more than a minimum plot in CDS which means that we could add a ton of sims and they all would be full rather rapidly and maintain low vacancies. It's a market distortion that might work in the fiscal favor of CDS ...
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Re: Bill Proposal: Citizenship Voting/Landholding Act

Post by michelmanen »

If you compare the CDS citizens' lists of 2006 through 2014, you will note that (except during the merger with AA) numbers have remained relatively stable and never went into 3 figures. CDS was never "flooded" or "invaded" or "taken over" by hordes of "Barbarians at the Gates"... In fact, the problem has been quite the opposite, as the lists show: virtually no increase in community numbers. Which is fine, if that is what the current citizens want: a small, stable group of "land-owners" in a virtual environment where "land" is nothing else but pixels on a server.

And yet - most people join CDS not because of these pixels, but because they want to belong to a community of inividuals sharing similar interests. That is the real value of CDS citizenship, not so much the virtual "pixels" one "occupies". Instead of Land ownership, the measure of citizenship should be equal taxation. We made this transition irl a long time ago, but for some reason CDS holds on to it because of the erroneous view that SL is somehow "different" from RL as far as citizenship rights are concerned. Of course, this is not the case - citizenship rights should depend even less on virtual land "ownership" in SL than they once depended on real land ownership irl. All citizens should pay a minimum tax, equivalent to the tier of the smallest available CDS plot, without any requirement of "land" ownership. The same delay could be maintained before newcomers could vote as is the case now. Everyone would be treated equally, all those who wished to join could do so, group ownership issues would disappear, and "proof of commitment" would remain unchanged. In fact, one might argue that those choosing to pay CDS tax without owning "land" are even more committed than those who have some pixels under their name. Alas, I am pretty certain that this solution is much too simple and straightforward to be implemented here...

Anyways..... This is an old debate, and like with the trench warfare of WWI, whose centennial we commemorate this year, one could safely say that there has been "Nothing New on the CDS Citizenship Debate Front" since 2007.... ;) As to the Taxation and Representation debate, I seem to recall a certain Boston Tea Party some two and a half centuries ago - and the issue is still not settled in the USA.... But I digress.....

"To a new kind of country"!

PS. Of course, this "landed" vs. "landless" citizens debate remains purely theoretical, since even if the "landless" view were to prevail, no great mobs of new citizens would rush to take up residence and "submerge" the existing ones. Given this reality, why not be creative and come up with a solution that would reconcile both sides in practice: Add up all public land, divide it by the area of the smallest CDS lot, and come up with a number of "public parcels" to be assigned to new citizens who don't need a place to lock down during the 9/10 of their lives, spent irl. CDS would maintain the myth of "landed citizens", yet everyone who wished could join because we know full well, based on many years of experience, that relatively few new citizens would join anyway - certainly not enough no exhaust the newly-available "lots" created out of public land. All individuals members of a group should also be assigned such a "lot", which they would have to pay "tier" on - and it would be up to the group members to decide how to pay for additional group "land" owned in common by the Group. This would eliminate the fear that one person with money to spare could buy a big lot, create a group, pay its tier, and then "sponsor" a large number of "ghost citizens" who have no skin in the game and who would only show up to vote as their "sponsor" tells them to. Conceptually this solution still makes little sense - but maybe, just maybe, if once put in practice no "waves" of new citizens would hit CDS all at once, even the most ardent supporters of the "landed" position may well end up admitting that their fears are unfounded, and eventually accept the "landless" but "taxed" approach. Miracles DO sometimes happen, after all ;)
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Re: Bill Proposal: Citizenship Voting/Landholding Act

Post by Shep »

Landless but taxed to be a citizen with full voting rights and standing for office I assume ... I'm sorry but that would be open to abuse from the get go ... but it's nice that you have returned with trust in your heart :)
I am not a sheep ... I am the Shepherdess .. An it harm none .. so mote it be ..
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