During the Annual Account of the State of The Park on October 27, Newt was asked about the recent finding that striped and spotted Animals do not fare as well economically as Animals who have solid or mixed coats.
“When I became Chief Archon,” he said, “I looked around at those who were serving in the various [government] departments and I saw that they were all Dogs and Cats and Geese and Whales and Dolphins and Snakes and Toads. And I said, ‘Why are there no Monkeys working in the government?’ So I got a group together to look at the problem and they brought me barrels full of Monkeys.”
While some believe the remark was a “misunderstanding of the question,” many Animals were outraged at what they called the Chief Archon’s “total lack of sensitivity toward Park Animals.” More vociferous critics declared Newt “unfit for the job”.
Antoine Lézard, who recently assumed the presidency of the newly-formed Coalition Against Sortition in the Park (CASP) called the Chief Archon’s remarks “toxic” and said that this is “just one more example of the inadequacy of the present system of Archon selection.”
“In my opinion,” he said, “Newt is not qualified to be an Archon and he would not be an Archon if Park Animals had been able to select Archons directly. Newt owes his position to a lottery and it is the Coalition’s belief that governance of The Park is too serious a matter to be decided by lottery.”
Archons who have served throughout the 30 years since zoocracy was established have been selected through sortition. Also known as the “allotment” or “lottery” method, this is the system that was put in place by Jor, The Park’s first leader and the founder of modern zoocracy.
Proposals for change in the Archon selection process have been made for over a decade. Thus far, however, they have failed to gain traction, since many Park Animals are still wary of the direct selection process.
“Sortition allows for a balance of species in the Archon mix,” contends Sylvana Rana, of the anti-election group, Save Our Political System (SOPS). “Direct elections can become a personality contest and the result could be the loss of adequate representation of many species.”
In Lézard’s view, Park Animals need to “be more forward-thinking.”
“Direct selection works well outside The Park. There is no reason it wouldn’t work well here, too,” he says.
In the meantime, the Chief Archon, whose appointment ends on January 16, 2013, has refused to comment on the controversy he created.