Most "top 10" reform proposals ("Ten of the Most Talked-About Improvements in Harrisburg," April 19) have merit but share a common drawback. While they might weaken incumbency for individual officeholders, they strengthen incumbency for political machines.
With a smaller Legislature incumbent machines will concentrate their overwhelming resources on fewer offices. They become more impenetrable. With term limits incumbent machines will engineer political careers. Imagine this super-entrenched career path: legislator's chief of staff, bureaucratic appointment, elected House member, elected Senate member and lobbyist in retirement. Machine tentacles will root everywhere.
Many reforms alone aren't sufficient because they still restrict voter choice. That's why this list needs Senate Bill 252, the "Voters' Choice Act."
The VCA, already introduced in the state Senate, would open the process to third party and independent candidates for statewide offices. By reducing ballot access signature requirements it provides these candidates - and voters - access to expanded ballot choice. If nothing else, that means a challenge to up-ticket machine incumbency and indirect support for more down-ticket choices too.
Ask your state senator to support S.B. 252 and your state representative to support similar legislation in the House. With additional voter choice, we might need fewer reforms.