December 11, 2008

Why bother with Elections?

The City Clerk reported on 12/10/08 (via email) that only the three candidates completed the nomination process making them eligible to run in the March 2009 city council election. Mayor Steve Croft, Vice Mayor Todd Rogers, and Council Member Diane DuBois - the three incumbent council members - were the only candidates who sought to fill the three available seats when the nominating period ended on December 5 2008. We alerted Lakewood residents of this impending deadline but given the abysmal turnout in Lakewood city council elections (usually less than 3,000 votes for 41,000 registered voters or 7.3% turnout) it does not surprise us that no one but the incumbents threw their hat in the ring. LAAG felt that by at least notifying residents of the deadline (which the city failed to do) potential candidates would at least not be blindsided by the deadline. Now, since the number of candidates at the end of the nominating period equals the number of seats to be filled, state election law allows the nominees to be appointed. So Lakewood wont even have an election! (Even Iraq has elections!) Just as well save the money I suppose as Lakewood residents just dont care. Very sad. In hotly contested districts in Long Beach recently they have had 60% turnouts in recent elections. I guess people in Long Beach are just more aware of what is going on (or more likely what is not happening and should be). Lakewood voters for the most part dont even know what issues are going on in Lakewood that need attention. I suppose we should just dispense with elections in Lakewood and let city council members serve for life. Or perhaps we could institute a city monarchy (we have close to that as Larry Van Nostran is the longest "reigning" city councilman in California history we have read; first elected in 1975 which will be 34 years in 2009). Without elections and campaigns the city council will have no incentives whatsoever to listen to "voters" (all 3,000 of them). How many other city's in California fail to have elections? Likely none. Shame on you Lakewood. As punishment for your lack of civic interest in our system of government you should not be allowed to celebrate the 4th with fireworks. (now that will stir interest) Our founding fathers would be appalled at how we claim to be "democratic" or "patriotic" and how we can only show it with sparklers or car magnets.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | | Lakewood, CA
A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™

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