Bah, Humbug! Who Needs Elections?

December 24, 2012
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What would Ben Franklin think of the current state of political affairs in La Verne?

What would Ben Franklin think of the current state of political affairs in La Verne?

Either democracy is dead in La Verne or our elected officials are doing such outstanding jobs keeping our potholes filled and streets clean that there’s no need to hold elections.

The city was supposed to hold an election in March 2013 for three seats – the seats currently held by Mayor Don Kendrick and Councilmembers Donna Redman and Robin Carder – but no candidates stepped forward.

Not a single one.

With so much discord in Washington and in our own state, it’s amazing that there is so much harmony and happiness in our humble hamlet.

If you’re just reading or hearing this for the first time, and are now sufficiently stirred to toss your hat into the political ring (perhaps you think overnight parking citations are excessive and want to make this intolerable act the central tenet of your political platform), you’re too late. The filing deadline to run for mayor or a council post was Dec. 10, 2012. The first day that you could have submitted your paperwork was Nov. 13.

Actually, La Verne is establishing something of a political pattern. In 2011, the city also canceled the city council election due to lack of interest.

Because no one chose to contest any of these three seats this year, the city will save an estimated $70,000, according to La Verne City Clerk Evelyn Leach. This inaction is sort of a Christmas present in reverse.

Taxpayers save $70,000, but isn’t democracy worth more than that?

Perhaps, the residents of La Verne should vote in term limits, just to encourage new ideas every so often.

But, if no residents stepped up to replace the termed-out incumbents, there would be no one left to run our government?

What civics lesson can we draw from this current state of political torpor in our emerald city?

Not that democracy is dead, but that complacency is very much alive!

If anyone’s interested, we invite opposing points of view.

One Response to “Bah, Humbug! Who Needs Elections?”

  1. We’re all too busy scratching out a living to have time to run for office. All of the city elected city council members have special interests and represent police and fire, the major university in town, and of course the real estate business, an industry which is part of the problem, not the solution. Tax revenues are down because real estate was oversold and overappraised to the point of foreclosure. But who represents the average homeowner and taxpayer? That is the problem.

    The city has a big surplus it is hiding (over $35 million) which is invested in a low-yield fund (less than 3%) that is losing value compared to the real rate of inflation (greater than 9% – source: The surplus is hidden in the comprehensive annual financial report which is available for viewing if you go to the library and you have to adept at reading the numbers. The city budget is only a spending wish list and does not reveal all the funds municipalities are holding.

    I get a definite feeling that city employees believe the tax money is theirs, not being held in the public interest. The city tried to get a bond passed for a new police station (the one they have now is a crawl hole), but that would have burdened the city with a debt that could topple it.

    I don’t know how tax revenues are keeping up with all of the foreclosures. If the city was entrepreneurial and used $10 million of its surplus to build an attraction that would get more people to come to La Verne and spend money within its borders, it would be responsibly growing the value of the city.

    Increasing taxes only takes more money away from being spent in town. Incomes are not keeping up with inflation, largely due to increased costs of health care in the past decade.

    A newly elected city councilman would face the entrenched forces that have a grip on the city now. A single newly elected councilman couldn’t out-vote the reigning representatives. You would have to vote in a whole new slate of councilmen.

    I think La Verne like other small towns will face greater pressures in the near future. The city has one major strength — a clean and professional police department. Policing needs to be a priority and any cutbacks in that area need to be moved to the bottom of the list. The city is attractive to live in because of good policing.

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