By Susan McNeal Velasquez
My popularity has skyrocketed lately. I am getting missives from all over the country by men and women who seem to know me. Apparently, they have an urgent need to hear from me. They feel comfortable enough to address me by my first name and I guess because their need is urgent, they cut to the chase and let me know that they are in trouble and they need my help.
I am gratified that they feel I am trustworthy and that they can safely disclose the urgency of their problem. The difficulty is that even though they are asking for a mere three, five, or ten dollars to save the day, I don’t think they realize that with the increase in my notoriety, my budget can’t accommodate all of the requests that I am currently receiving.
Closer to home is the fact that we are facing local city council openings. We have a full field of new candidates plus two incumbents that are up for re-election. A ride through town will alert you that there is also a hot topic, Measure Q, that shouts vote YES or vote NO from every other corner.
I have lived in town since 1986 and, as a result, have been privileged to meet many good people over the years who I treasure as friends. I hold them in high esteem because of their character and their commitment to everything they care about. That often includes city politics. They put their money and their mouth towards furthering the best decisions that will continue to safeguard our unique community and ensure its integrity as we grow and progress.
I love brilliant and articulate people. I am open and receptive to the opinions of well-informed citizens who understand and share the political implications of changes in the leadership landscape of Laguna.
I believe it is a privilege and a responsibility to participate in both local and national elections.
Here is my dilemma. I am not naturally a political animal. My personality lends itself to being open and receptive to new ideas while also being pragmatic about gathering enough data to make the decisions in my personal and professional life that will work to carry out my responsibilities.
I listen to political arguments to try to glean knowledge to formulate my own decisions on who and what to support.
I also believe that it is my responsibility to be informed regarding the benefits and prices of the ultimate choices I make so that I use my vote wisely.
The problem is that it seems almost impossible to get to the core of the issues because of the combative nature that seems to be the climate today. I want to be a responsible voter. However, the amount of noise that is designed to denigrate the character of individuals and confuse the issues is so loud that it can become overwhelming.
Instead of giving in to the idea of just walking away from the incessant noise, I have decided to enlist help from friends who I respect for their thoroughness and expertise in political knowledge and follow their lead.
If I am not able to wade through the half-truths to come to an independent conclusion, I have decided that it is acceptable to get a little help from respected friends. Stay in the game. Even if it isn’t perfect, your vote counts.
Susan is a local author and longtime resident. Reach her at susanvelasquez.com.