Email from the future

Hello to the forum,

I am seeking advice on a short work, in the category of ‘utopian vision’. It’s partly a technological vision. In it’s native element, with the missing technical pieces, it looks like this:

What follows is just the literary part. (This is the part I have trouble with. I’m an open source engineer, not an artist.) Please help, if you can, with comments or advice, – Mike

Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2009 18:51:44 -0500
From: Fanny
To: Jim Bolton
Subject: Re: Open Elections

Not fair, I wasn’t the first! I may have been the first to vote for Linda, but that’s her own fault. Because a few years back (you remember, I told you about it) she organized the renovation of that playground on Willow Street. So I figured, she’s buckin’ for City Council! So I voted for her. (But none of us really expected anything to come of it, of course. It was just something new, a different kind of election.)

So that’s where the bylaw came from… good for her! It’s true too, that’s the election that kick-started things. I remember, it made the local news. Different versions of the bylaw were being drafted, each with a different tax redistribution. Some of them were pretty extreme! People were voting for one draft, or another.

I never looked at any of the drafts. (I can’t make heads or tails of my own taxes.) But Mark has a friend in accounting. He knows all the numbers. We just voted for him. It worked out well. Whenever we had questions, he had the answers. So now he’s our designated tax rep, for future elections.

Linda foresaw what was coming. She saved her candidate’s bacon. She convinced her to keep out of the bylaw elections (there were several by then). The other Council candidates were staking positions, and attracting votes because of it. But she convinced her’s to promise, instead, to support the winning draft (whichever, it didn’t matter) and bring it to a Council vote. The other candidates were torn apart in the fray, but her’s came up the middle ground!

I know, that’s what I expected too. And the news reports at the time, they predicted the same thing. Everyone figured we’d just divide up into separate camps. And I guess people did split up, at first. But whenever the votes had settled down into a clear division – some voting for one proposal, some for another – the bylaw drafters managed to bridge the differences. Linda says they found compromise drafts. Or they just removed the difficult sections where they couldn’t agree. So the drafts came together, bit by bit, and the votes cascaded with them.

The biggest problem came afterwards. After everyone had agreed on it, the Budget Committee rejected it. They said it had technical faults. Council started to amend it. That’s when people really got up in arms! Eventually, the Mayor stepped in. He said it wasn’t their bylaw to amend. He asked us to reopen the election, and told the Committee to negotiate directly with the drafters. Eventually we reached a second consensus. (The Mayor now calls himself the ‘Open Election Mayor’. He says his job was never so easy, as when he acted on a clear consensus. Instead of opponents at every turn, he found allies.)

There’s optimism in the air, Jimbo. People have started drafting their own planning documents, and voting on them. Different cities are sharing different visions. People are talking. Not long ago, they’d have dismissed that kind of thing. They’d have felt the authorities had it pretty much wrapped up, and would do as they pleased. Now it’s different. Now, the feeling is, almost anything is possible,