I attended the Crystal Charter Commission Meeting on April 22, 2014. The meeting was planned for earlier this year but was rescheduled due to a late blizzard.
There are two types of cities in Minnesota- charter cities and statutory cities. Charter cities, like Crystal, are governed by a city charter, which is overseen by a charter commission. A city charter could be thought of as a type of local constitution. Statutory cities, like New Hope, are governed by state law. You can read more about the types of cities here.
Other than a bit of housekeeping (electing officers, approving minutes, etc.) the Charter Commission only had one thing on the agenda – a presentation on Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Because Crystal is a charter city, we could decide to adopt a different type of electing our council-members and mayor, and RCV is a new method that is being pushed by well funded outside groups like the one we heard from last night.
I did not intend to participate in the meeting- I was there only as an observer- but the one-sided nature of the presentation led me to offer to give the Commissioners an opposing viewpoint on the topic. They graciously allowed me a few minutes to speak, and I was invited to find someone to fully present the opposing viewpoint at the next meeting in June.
Ranked Choice Voting is a solution in search of a problem. It is an expensive and confusing method of voting that tends to favor incumbents. There is no reason for Crystal to adopt a costly and untested new method of voting in our municipal elections, where we often see candidates run unopposed. Fortunately we are a long way away from something like RCV being adopted in Crystal, and we will have plenty of time to ensure both sides of this issue are presented equally.