Monday, October 15, 2012

Big Time Politic$ Goes Country.

As at least some of my readers know I live in a small town. Our only form of locally elected government is the board of directors of the Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Parks District This agency is governed by a five-member board of directors. I know several people who have served on the board of that agency over my life in this town. Everyone of them will tell you that being on its governing board is not only a thankless job but also a pain in the ass one as well. All of the board members put in an incredible amount of work doing their job. The district is also served by many volunteers as well. It has a small budget and only one or two full time employees. It is run on a shoestring. Very few people have ever served more than a single term of office and many have only served part of one term. The district is small and only 1219 registered voters live in the district. It owns two parks and runs an after school daycare center for the children of working parents in the district. the day care center called the Children's Center is housed on the campus of the now closed Silverado School. It also provides hikes and nature walks and other interesting things here on the western slopes of the Santa Ana Mountains, including the annual Country Fair in October and other cherished community based events during the year. This year's fair was the 43rd annual event. You can see what else the district does here.
This year there are two seats up for election and five candidates for those two seats. The winners of this year's contest will join three other members who were recently appointed to their positions by the term-limited incumbent 3rd District county supervisor. One candidate is our volunteer fire department's station captain who doesn't seem to be doing any campaigning at all. He seems to be taking a “well I'm here and if you want to vote for me fine, if not fine too” kind of campaign. Very traditional in this community. The other four candidates seem to be running on two different two person slates. One slate has handmade yard signs as its campaign mainstay, also very traditional in this community. The other slate has professionally done yard signs and fancy holders for them. On Saturday I went down to the post office and found a multi-colored professionally printed slick-papered brochure urging the second slate's election. This mailer is something you would expect to see in a big city election or even a campaign for the state legislature or congress. Design, printing and mailing costs for that mailer for distribution to 1219 voters must be in the thousands of dollars perhaps even as much as ten thousand dollars. That campaign is very un-traditional. This is the first time in my memory that I have seen that level of campaigning for local office. It makes me wonder, really wonder, why anyone would spend that kind of money to have themselves elected to such a pain in the ass job. I really do smell the sweet odor of the beginnings of corruption at work.
Guess who I am going to vote for.

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