Sunday, October 21, 2012
A Few Words About Local Elections and Media
I don't know about you but when it comes to determining who I will vote for in the City Council elections in my hometown of Fullerton, California, I utilize the following method.
I try to identify the most important issue(s) that the City Council will be facing in the next four years.
I try to get out to the Public Forums which feature the candidates and if I can't make it in person, I watch the forums on local cable Television or online. I read as much as I can on all the candidates: their history, their positions on the issues and what they feel are the most important issues facing the city.
Then I actually vote. Yes, I am the few the proud....the 33% that actually showed up at the polls to cast my vote in the last election in June.
One of the local publications, which was founded by my late and wonderful friend, Ralph Kennedy and continues under the guidance of his daughter Sharon, has had a long standing tradition of asking a series of questions to all the candidates and publishing their responses.
I have always appreciated that feature and tradition of that publication even though I don't always agree with their politics.
You can tell a lot by those responses on where the candidates stand and you see a dimension of the candidate maybe you missed at the Public Forum or by doing your homework.
Except this year, four of the twelve candidates didn't bother to respond when the piece was first published in the Early October edition.
This maybe tells me a few things about the candidate when they don't bother to respond.
You are, either (maybe more than one answer applies here)
A) So disorganized in your campaign, that you have a problem meeting deadlines. Which begs the question, how organized of a leader are you going to be when you are on City Council?
B) You are thumbing your nose at the population of our city and would rather get your message out in political hit pieces utilizing money that could be spent more wisely. Which may speak to the mentality of how you would spend our money when in office. This publication of the answers to your questions in this periodical is free remember.
C) You really don't have answers to any of the questions that are posed by the publication and haven't even thought about it which will be a problem when you get to office.
D) You can't put two sentences together or can't write or don't have aides that can do that for you which is probably a good skill to have if you actually get into office.
Ok, so this publication rectified the situation in the mid-October edition by republishing the feature, but this time with eleven of the twelve candidates responding.
The explanation by the Editor of the missing responses in the previous edition was that the three MIA candidates had computer glitches and could not get their responses in on time.
A Note to those three tardy Candidates. Next time, and this is just a tip, when you email your response, pick up the phone and call Sharon and say, "Sharon, did you get my response? You didn't? Ok, let me run it over to your office!"
So, I don't know what is worse.... that scenario I just mentioned or the Orange County Register's Op-ed piece claiming that the most important issue in Fullerton for this upcoming election is Property Rights.
I hate it when some reporter who has no grasp of the Political climate in our town, extrapolates from the fact that we are voting on Measure W that the most important thing is Property Rights and then they proceed to list their recommendations for City Council based on that premise. Property rights is always important, but that's a little like saying water, fire and police services are important to a city.
Kind of goes without saying.
It's a little more complex than that isn't it?
What about the fact that Fullerton is going to be facing Bankruptcy and loss of services if we don't do a better job of minding the store (like getting pension costs under control) while at the same time coming up with creative solutions to grow the Economy in this town?
We are not going to recommend three for City Council. Not yet, anyway. But here is my voter recommendation.
Identify the most important issues to you in your town. Then do your homework. Ask questions of the candidates if you have to. Most of the candidates have an open door policy and will field your questions.
We have provided a few tools here.
We have links to past city council and planning commission meetings as well as a public forum where all the candidates were present. This is in our radio section.
We also have links to the websites of each of the candidates that have one so you can see where they stand on the issues.
And after you do your homework, you need to vote on Nov. 6. Find your polling place and cast your vote.
We need more than a 33% showing at the polls this time to make this work properly.