This column was going to be a reprise of an old election tradition, “Fast JJ’s Picks”.
That’s where the city council race is depicted as a horse race with all the candidates being the horses. It’s usually comprised of thoughts like; “this horse does well in the mud or this horse can’t talk.” Sadly, we’re currently in a situation where such levity is inappropriate.
There are 13 city council candidates, counting two who dropped out but are in again, plus the satirical write-in candidate. Some are even running under assumed names. Who are all these people and what do they really want? It is hard to know.
This used to be only a big-city question. In small towns, everybody knew everybody else or knew somebody who did. Everybody belonged to something or they didn’t. The clubs, church groups, and other community groups were part of a vetting process.
In local government, this was a process over time. Leaders rose from the ranks by paying their dues on boards and commissions. Like being on the baseball farm team. Folks could see how they did. Some did well, others didn’t.
A portion of today’s candidates have gone through this process and the others haven’t. They all have clear plans for Laguna’s future, even if they’ve only been here for 10 seconds. They’re all telling us they have a plan for all of our problems, but most never tell us specifically what they will do or how they’ll get a majority of the council to support that plan.
Some who do get a bit specific say things like, “I’ll fix it by asking folks who work at city hall what their ideas for fixing it are.” Those could be the same folks who broke it.
Every one of our candidates is saying, “Give me the ball coach and I’ll score one for the Gipper.” In some cases, we don’t know who’s a stumble bum and who isn’t. One candidate is a trust manager. Does that mean they control billions or just cash a monthly check? There are the company presidents. Presidents of what? Who knows?
So, if you have any idea about who one of the candidates is and believe they will do a good job, consider just voting for them. This is called voting a bullet. This year you have three votes for council. If you only vote for one candidate, it is like you voted for them three times. That is because the three highest vote getters win. Your vote for additional candidates could push them past yours.
J.J. Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11 years old. He has loved it ever since.