District Director Report

By Ken Monzingo

National Board Representative



Cast the Vote that Counts


Teri Atkinson is our District 22 President, and as of last month’s D22 unit board members election, she also posted a solid victory over two other very strong candidates to be named our ACBL First Alternate - a position of readiness to fill in for me in case of an unforeseen vacancy.

In this election, ballots were cast by individual unit board members throughout our district. However, the ACBL has some arbitrary rules in place in this particular electoral process which I – and others – feel can create chaos and inequity - especially in larger units. I say “larger” because these votes are "weighted" by the total number of members in each particular unit. Example: each vote from a Palm Springs or San Diego board member (the district’s two most populated unit members) counts more than votes from other units.  I have a hard time understanding if that is really a good idea.

But an even worse scenario is that a vote from a unit board member may not even be counted ... and often isn’t! By ACBL rules, unless the unit submits a quorum vote - i.e., more than 50% of the voting members submit their ballots - all votes from that unit are null and void, just whispers in the wind, and are not counted. No go.

Towards this end, we have 25 units in our district, yet only nineteen of them determined this past election. Of the 212 possible voters, only 136 submitted their ballots, and six units were voided out completely. Here’s the havoc that created:

· Bishop Unit 517 has eight board members, none voted.

· La Jolla Unit 526 has nine board members, but only four voted. All votes eliminated.

· Lompoc Unit 528 has seven board members, but only three voted. All are eliminated.

· Riverside has ten board members, five voted. All are eliminated.

· Santa Ana Unit 541 has eight board members, four voted. All are eliminated.

· Santa Barbara Unit 542 has ten board members, three voted. All are eliminated.

Whether you like this procedure or not, this is what we have, and the above info emphasizes the great importance of getting more than half your unit board members to vote. That is a responsibility that should be taken seriously by all boards; how else can we have a more "true" election?

Our district secretary, Rex Latus, strongly questioned this procedure to ACBL. An excerpt from Rex’s thoughtful and critical views to the league on voting quorums:

" . . . elections for representatives of the people should not have quorums. For example, take a election for President of the United States. In California only 49% of the voters turn out. Now what . . . California didn't vote and its electoral votes are not counted? Doesn't sound fair to me.

Not voting is not a vote. You cannot punish those [who] care enough to vote by negating their vote."

As National Board Representative, I experienced this procedure more than a year ago when I was up for election. It confused me then, and I’ve been somewhat vocal about the procedure on the national level. However, after reading the strong stance Rex has taken regarding these procedures, I plan to join the fray with new enthusiasm to correct what I also think is a wrong.

Palm Springs & NABC Time

It’s no secret that I am chairing the Fall NABC in San Diego Thanksgiving Day through December 6. I really hope you all take advantage of this tournament to taste the thrill of a national championship event, complete with all the stars you’ve read about and heard about. Bonnie Bagley and I have done all we can to put on a fun show for everyone. You will absolutely love Peter Rank’s Broadway-type musical play "My Fair ‘Little Old’ Lady" during the first five days of the event. And Linda Trent and Jody Pedri will be treating all the newcomers (I/Ns) in their own program of excitement with speakers, gifts, parties, prizes and more.

On the back burner is Palm Springs. But move it forward please. This regional in mid December has become our Holiday Classic, building up to be one the top five tournaments in the country. It’s a wonderful way to end your bridge 2009 and leaves plenty of time for the family gatherings at Christmas Season. Please reserve your room right now at the fabulous Mission Hills Resort.

             Au revoir

I lost my friend Ed Layton last month after a courageous battle with the Big C. Most will remember Ed for his infectious smile and kind nature, but I will just remember the great thrill he had giving others joy - in his bridge classes and in tournament hospitality. His loyal students will always cherish him for his charm and wit.

"There are no blind leads, just deaf defenders!"

     –Ed Layton